The AFC South has been essentially wide open this season but the Indianapolis Colts can’t even capitalize as they’ve continuously underwhelmed.
Entering the season, the Indianapolis Colts were expected to be improved and they were the favorites to win the AFC South, while it was believed the Tennessee Titans would regress, the Jacksonville Jaguars would improve but not quite compete for the division yet, and the Houston Texans would continue to struggle. 14 weeks into the season, all of those expectations have become a reality, except for Indianapolis, of course.
The Colts are sitting at an underwhelming 4-8-1 as they return from a Week 14 bye. Much like all season, no one knows what to expect from Indianapolis in its return from the bye week. Indy has already fired an offensive coordinator and a head coach, hired a former player with limited coaching experience to be the interim head coach, and benched and un-benched Matt Ryan. Ryan may even be benched again moving forward.
The only safe bet for the Colts moving forward is that there will likely be some more losing down the stretch of the season and that Indy will be upset that it didn’t capitalize this year. While that’s usually the case when a team underwhelms, it’s especially the reality for Indianapolis this year because the AFC South was wide open for the taking.
This was the season for Colts to win the AFC South
After 14 weeks, the Titans sit atop the AFC South with a 7-6 record. The Jaguars are second in the division at 5-8, the Colts are third at 4-8-1, and the Texans are already eliminated from playoff contention with a 1-11-1 record. Of course, Indianapolis could win out and possibly win the division if the two teams in front of them drop a couple of games but who really expects that to happen? It would take a miracle for the Indy team that’s been on the field this season to win four-straight games.
Unfortunately, if the Colts were even mildly competent this season, winning the division would be a real possibility. As previously stated, Tennessee, the team that has won the AFC South the last two seasons is just 7-6. The Titans are currently in the midst of a three-game losing streak and it hasn’t been really pretty. They’ve lost to the Bengals 20-16, the Eagles 35-10, and most recently, the Jaguars 36-22. The worst part about it all is that it doesn’t even matter.
The AFC South is such a struggling division that the Titans will likely limp to another divisional championship because the other three teams have been too bad to rise up and snatch a division that’s for the taking. This may hurt a bit for the Texans and Jaguars but it should hurt the Colts way more. By all accounts, Houston and Jacksonville are performing to expectations. It was Indianapolis that entered the season with high expectations and fell flat on its face. Knowing the Colts could’ve had an easy divisional championship and a ticket to the postseason is something that will probably haunt the team.