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NFL Power Rankings Week 13: Colts winning streak has them climbing into playoff contention

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NFL: Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts continue their slow climb in the power rankings, gradually moving their way up the ladder by grinding out another win and extending their streak to 5. Andrew Luck is playing at what would normally be a clear MVP level if not for the incredible performances by Drew Brees and Patrick Mahomes this year.

They have worked their way back into playoff contention and will have an opportunity to extend that streak to 6 consecutive wins if they can go into Jacksonville and beat a team that seems to be falling apart at the seams.

Here’s what they’re saying about the Colts around the league.

ESPN has the Colts ranked 13th up from 15th.

Toughest game left: Week 14 at Houston. The Colts can’t afford to fall any further behind the Texans in the AFC South standings if they expect to maintain their slim hopes of winning the division. That matchup could feature the NFL’s No. 2-ranked defense in Houston against the league’s No. 8 offense in the Colts.

CBS Sports has the Colts ranked 9th up from 10th.

With five straight victories, they are in the thick of the playoff race. Watch out this week in Jacksonville.

NFL.com has the Colts ranked 13th up from 14th.

The Colts are 6-5, having won five straight behind a quarterback who is a candidate for league MVP. Don’t misunderstand me: Andrew Luck was far from perfect against the Dolphins on Sunday. He even managed the rare feat of throwing two interceptions in less than a minute of game clock -- to the same guy. Xavien Howard’s exploits aside, Luck rebounded by bringing Indy back from 10 points down in the second half with exemplary play, setting up Adam Vinatieri’s 18,144th game-winning kick to move into wild-card position, if not contention for the AFC South. Back to Luck: Where would the Colts be without him? Analysts say that all the time regarding Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, yet Luck’s play is as valuable as that of anyone this side of Drew Brees.

USA Today has the Colts ranked 10th up from 11th.

I like just about everything Frank Reich has done to help Andrew Luck, but I don’t understand recent obsession to make him a receiver.

Bleacher Report has the Colts ranked 11th up from 12th.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Indianapolis Colts were dead in the water. At 1-5, they appeared closer to the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft than the playoffs.

Fast forward five weeks (and an equal number of wins), and the Colts are knocking on the door of a postseason spot as one of the NFL’s hottest teams—even though they aren’t even the hottest team in the AFC South.

The reason? Andrew Austen Luck.

Playing behind an O-line that is exponentially better than in recent years, Luck is playing as well as he ever has. In a come-from-behind win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Luck threw for 343 yards and three scores (with two picks). Only Patrick Mahomes has more touchdown passes this year.

There’s no time for rest, though. Indy’s next two games are on the road against division foes, including a huge Week 14 game with the South-leading Texans.

Yahoo! Sports has the Colts ranked 14th up from 15th.

Darius Leonard went down early, grabbed at his leg and was taken back to the locker room. Colts fans were just thrilled to see the rookie linebacker back on the field, and then he had 10 tackles and a sack in the win. Leonard has been a great pick and is right in the NFL defensive rookie of the year mix.


The Rest of the AFC South

Houston Texans

ESPN: 8

CBS Sports: 8

NFL.com: 8

USA Today: 7

Bleacher Report: 8

Yahoo! Sports: 8

Tennessee Titans

ESPN: 17

CBS Sports: 16

NFL.com: 21

USA Today: 17

Bleacher Report: 17

Yahoo! Sports: 17

Jacksonville Jaguars

ESPN: 25

CBS Sports: 28

NFL.com: 28

USA Today: 28

Bleacher Report: 25

Yahoo! Sports: 28