It’s weird to say the Indianapolis Colts are the new favorite to win the AFC South divisional title this year after only four games, but they are certainly in the driver’s seat. Indianapolis is currently tied with the Tennessee Titans at 3-1 in the standings after the first month of play.
The Houston Texans, who’ve won the division championship the past two seasons, were the hot pick to win a third straight entering the year. They returned their “Big Three” and had a very good defense. However, the Texans have struggled in the past two weeks, getting blown out by the Baltimore Ravens last week and losing a heartbreaker to the Seattle Seahawks 23-20 in overtime after leading 20-3 late in the second half. They’re now 2-2 with a trip to the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday night.
The next month will really shape up who wins the AFC South for 2013.
The Texans will have a hard time winning in San Francisco and then return home for a winnable contest with the St. Louis Rams. From there, they play at the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs then host the Colts. It’s not too far off to say the Texans will be 3-4 heading into the Sunday Night matchup with Indianapolis.
The Titans likely lost quarterback Jake Locker for some time after he suffered an injury in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets. They host the Chiefs this weekend then have three straight games against NFC West opponents. They play at Seattle and St. Louis with a home game against the 49ers sandwiched in between.
There’s really no way the Titans can contend with the Seahawks or 49ers yet, and the Chiefs will be tough for them as well. It’s likely Tennessee will be 3-5 heading to Week 9.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are winless and don’t look to end that slide anytime soon. They have the Rams, Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers and 49ers coming up. None of those are easy games with them likely being 0-8 heading to Week 9.
That leaves the Colts, who have some tough games coming up themselves, but has the luxury of being in Lucas Oil Stadium. They host an undefeated Seahawks team on Sunday, which should be a very good smash-mouth football game. If the Colts play like they have on both sides of the ball in the past two weeks, they can win that game and put a mark in the loss column for Seattle for the first time this year.
From there, they play at the Chargers on Monday Night Football then host the game of the year with the Broncos. The Colts could be 5-2 or 6-1 entering that Week 8 game with the Texans. That’s at least a two-game lead on the division with a favorable schedule the rest of the way.
This next month will make or break the AFC South teams’ division chances. As of now, it’s the Colts’ to lose.