The Colts finally got a win by more than a score. It was the first time they have finished a game by more than a one-score margin all season, and it was much needed as they fight to stay in the playoff mix. With the Titans rallying in an attempt to stay relevant on the back part of the season and the Texans faltering against the Ravens, it sets the stage for a wide open race to the finish. The Colts can put themselves in a great position in that race with a win against the Texans Thursday night.
Let’s take a look at how they stack up this week in the power rankings.
Most underrated player: Zach Pascal.
Pascal has been the Colts’ best receiver not named T.Y. Hilton this season. Pascal, who was claimed off waivers from Tennessee in 2018, leads the Colts in receiving yards (364) despite being fifth (23) in receptions and third in targets (40). He’ll continue to be one of quarterback Jacoby Brissett’s favorite targets at receiver until Hilton returns from his calf injury, which has cost Hilton four games this season.
The Colts have been addicted to playing games that are decided on the final possession this season. They ditched the drama on Sunday with a blowout win over the Jaguars that pumps plenty of optimism back into Indy. Jacoby Brissett returned from a knee injury but mostly took a back seat to a rushing attack and defense that combined to throttle Jacksonville. Jonathan Williams and Marlon Mack (who exited in the third quarter with a hand injury) each went over 100 yards, part of a 264-yard ground day that was the Colts’ best single-game output since 2004. The defense held Nick Foles and the Jaguars to just 308 total yards with two sacks and an interception. Even the struggling Adam Vinatieri was at his best, finishing 5-of-5 on kicks -- four extra points and a field goal. The upcoming Thursday Night Football matchup against the Texans has huge ramifications in the AFC South.
Justin Houston has quietly been one of this year’s best free agent signings. He has at least one sack in each of his last six outings.
Jacoby Brissett’s fourth-down scramble and touchdown pass, considering his knee injury, was really impressive. That was the turning point of a huge win against the Jaguars. It’ll be tough to win Thursday, especially without Marlon Mack, but the Colts could take a huge step to a division title if they can pull it off.
It seems the Indianapolis Colts are glad to have Jacoby Brissett back.
In Week 10, with Brian Hoyer under center, the Colts lost to the Miami Dolphins at home. The team looked…bad.
In Week 11, with their starting signal-caller back at the helm, the Colts blasted the Jacksonville Jaguars to re-take first place in the AFC South.
It’s not that Brissett posted gaudy stats—he completed just 15 passes for 148 yards. But Brissett ran for a score and made plays when he needed to. The offense looked light-years better than in Week 10, with tailbacks Marlon Mack and Jonathan Williams gashing the Jags for 225 combined yards.
Indy’s defense played well too. Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette has been among the league’s most prolific runners this year, but Indy held him to a season-low 23 yards on eight carries, and Jacksonville had just 308 yards of total offense.
It was an impressive victory that has the Colts headed in the right direction before this week’s big showdown with the Texans in Houston.
However, it came at a potentially high cost. Per NFL.com, Mack had surgery Monday to repair a fractured bone in his hand. He’ll miss Thursday night’s tilt with Houston...at least.
AFC South Rivals
USA Today: 12
USA Today: 16