2013 DRAFT GUIDE
With Luck, Colts in charge of AFC South once again

By TERESA M. WALKER - AP Sports Writer
    2013-11-06 16:35

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Indianapolis Colts have a firm grasp on the AFC South, poised to win the division they used to dominate with Peyton Manning.

Now it's quarterback Andrew Luck and coach Chuck Pagano leading the way.

The Colts have gone from chasing the division leaders to being the hunted, and Pagano said the Colts (6-2) must stay focused to win the AFC South crown.

''The minute you start feeling good about yourself and you relax, you get complacent, then you're not going to play well and you're going to lose games,'' Pagano said.

At the halfway point of the NFL season, the only sure thing is that the Houston Texan's two-year reign in the AFC South is over with their six-game skid the least of their worries. The Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8) just want their first win under first-year coach Gus Bradley, thankfully getting a bye last week to rest up from their trip to London and their latest loss.

The Colts have a two-game lead in the division this franchise won seven times with Manning at quarterback after rallying for a 27-24 win at Houston last weekend despite trailing 21-3 at halftime when Texans coach Gary Kubiak collapsed. Pagano said that won't mean anything if they don't take care of business in the second half.

The Tennessee Titans haven't won the AFC South since 2008 but feel ready to challenge after surviving the league's third-toughest schedule through the first seven weeks. The Titans (4-4) are chasing their first playoff berth since 2008 and are eager to stake their own claim on the division with two games remaining against the Colts. Their first chance will be Nov. 14 in Nashville.

''We know we have to make our move,'' Titans coach Mike Munchak.

---

Here are five things to watch in the AFC South in the second half:

REMEMBER THE TEXANS: Kubiak's collapse from a mini-stroke at halftime of the loss to the Colts is simply the most serious of the many issues Houston has faced this season. The Texans were 2-0 after an overtime win over the Titans before Matt Schaub's struggles. Schaub was intercepted for a touchdown in four straight games before getting hurt, and even backup T.J. Yates was picked off for a TD when he came in. Now Case Keenum is the quarterback, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is Houston's interim coach and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison is expected to call plays until Kubiak returns. The team that dreamed of a Super Bowl now must try to avoid locking up a losing season before December.

NO MORE INJURIES: Luck and the Colts have proven they can come back, and the defense has allowed only 29 points in the fourth quarter this season. But they can't afford another start like they had in Houston. They also need to stay healthy having already lost receiver Reggie Wayne, running backs Vick Ballard and Ahmard Bradshaw, tight end Dwayne Allen and starting guard Donald Thomas to season-ending injuries. The Colts also need T.Y. Hilton and Coby Fleener to prove they can replace Wayne.

RUNNING GAME: The run game the Titans worked on so hard this offseason finally had the big payoff last week with Chris Johnson running for 150 yards and two touchdowns. They must keep it up to help Jake Locker.

WILL THE JAGUARS GO 0-16?: The Jaguars' best bet to avoid an 0-16 record could be the fact they have yet to play the Texans after losing receiver Justin Blackmon last week to suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

STRETCH RUN: The Colts may have the most favorable schedule with a trip to Cincinnati (6-3) on Dec. 8 and at Kansas City (9-0) on Dec. 22 the only games against teams currently with winning records. The Titans have five division games left, and Sunday against the Jaguars will be the first of two in a five-day span before a quick turnaround before hosting Indianapolis on Nov. 14. If the Colts win in Nashville, that would give them a sweep of division foes on the road this season.

---

PREDICTED WINNER: Colts.

---

AP Sports Writers Michael Marot in Indianapolis, Ind., and Kristie Rieken in Houston contributed to this report.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Terrelle PryorApr 23 08:58a

The Seattle Seahawks acquired QB Terrelle Pryor from the Oakland Raiders Monday, April 21, in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick in this year's draft. He will compete with [ More ]

Matt RyanApr 22 10:53p

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith is calling for major improvement on both sides of the line of scrimmage. He fears the team could bottom out for a second [ More ]

EJ ManuelApr 22 08:13p

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel (knees) is healthy entering voluntary workouts and feels normal and had no limitations during the Tuesday, April 22 conditioning program. Bills head coach Doug [ More ]

Rolando McClainApr 22 07:53p

Updating a previous report, the Baltimore Ravens have officially placed LB Rolando McClain on the reserve-retired list for a second time. The Ravens will retain McClain's rights if he changes his mind again.

Eli ManningApr 22 07:33p

New York Giants QB Eli Manning (ankle) expects to be 100 percent for the beginning of training camp. Manning has no concerns about learning the Giants' new playbook, instead [ More ]

Ray RiceApr 22 04:43p

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice looks great physically, according to strength and conditioning coach Bob Roguck. 'He's doing some things differently as far as his diet and so forth, [ More ]

David WilsonApr 22 02:43p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) said he is still waiting for a clear MRI to be medically cleared, but is currently ahead of schedule.

Julio JonesApr 22 01:13p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (foot) will be limited during the team's offseason workouts while he recovers from offseason foot surgery. 'Julio is participating with our athletic performance department,' [ More ]

Eli ManningApr 22 01:03p

New York Giants QB Eli Manning (ankle) said his ankle is progressing but he does not have a timetable for his return to the field. Manning is currently in a walking boot.

Stevie BrownApr 22 12:33p

New York Giants FS Stevie Brown (knee) said he feels like he is ready to go when the Giants hit the field after recovering from a serious knee injury. [ More ]

Will HillApr 22 10:33a

The New York Giants are likely to cut FS Will Hill after his third potential drug suspension.

Josh MorganApr 22 09:52a

Chicago Bears WR Joshua Morgan is likely to compete for the No. 3 or 4 wide receiver role this year, and he'll compete with WRs Domenik Hixon, Eric Weems [ More ]

Will HillApr 22 09:33a

New York Giants FS Will Hill is facing a year-long suspension after reportedly failing another drug test. He will appeal what would be his third drug-related suspension.

Kyle WilliamsApr 21 09:33p

The Kansas City Chiefs re-signed WR Kyle Williams Monday, April 21. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Colt AndersonApr 21 07:12p

The Indianapolis Colts signed free-agent FS Colt Anderson (Eagles) to an undisclosed deal Monday, April 21.

Jamar TaylorApr 21 06:43p

Miami Dolphins CB Jamar Taylor (groin) is healthy following hernia surgery and began offseason workouts with his teammates Monday, April 21. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said he expects [ More ]

Dustin KellerApr 21 05:42p

Eugene Parker, agent for free-agent TE Dustin Keller (knee), said Keller is ready to participate in offseason workouts when he signs with a team.

Eric FisherApr 21 05:12p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) said there is no timetable for his return following multiple surgeries, but he doesn't think he'll be out for long. 'He's [ More ]

Josh MorganApr 21 04:02p

The Chicago Bears have signed free-agent WR Joshua Morgan (Redskins) to a one-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

A.J. GreenApr 21 03:32p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green said he has added around six pounds this offseason, because he wants to be more physical as a way to beat coverage at the [ More ]

Michael VickApr 21 02:42p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith said he believes he will be the starting quarterback this upcoming season even though the team added QB Michael Vick this offseason. He [ More ]

Navorro BowmanApr 21 02:12p

The San Francisco 49ers plan to place LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) on the Physically Unable to Perform list when training camp begins, because he is not expected to be [ More ]

Eric FisherApr 21 02:02p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) underwent shoulder surgery and had a procedure to fix a sports hernia. He's currently rehabbing in Kansas City.

Tony CarterApr 21 01:22p

The Denver Broncos signed DT Mitch Unrein to his restricted free-agent tender Monday, April 21. CB Tony Carter, SS Duke Ihenacho and LB Brandon M. Marshall all signed their exclusive rights tenders.

Rolando McClainApr 21 01:02p

Baltimore Ravens LB Rolando McClain is retiring from the NFL again Monday, April 21. 'I gotta follow my heart. It ain't football. If football made me complete I would [ More ]

Tony RomoApr 21 12:42p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) will take part in the team's voluntary offseason program beginning Monday, April 21, according to a source. Players are allowed to lift weights, [ More ]

Marcus LattimoreApr 20 09:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) is not expected to be restricted in any way when offseason workouts begin.

Michael EgnewApr 20 08:42p

The Miami Dolphins likely will add at least two more tight ends this offseason that will compete with TE Michael Egnew for a roster spot.

Armon BinnsApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Armon Binns is currently the team's No. 4 receiver, but the Dolphins have had discussions about WR Rishard Matthews replacing Binns at the spot, according to a source.

Tyrone CrawfordApr 20 12:02a

Dallas Cowboys DT Tyrone Crawford (Achilles') is expected to be ready for the team's offseason program, and he is expected to be a key piece to the defense this season.

M. Jones-DrewApr 20 12:02a

If healthy, Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden is expected to be the team's starting tailback with RB Maurice Jones-Drew as his backup.

Brian HartlineApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (knee) is expected to be ready for the start of mini camp, according to a source. He suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament in the 2013 regular season finale.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group