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Indianapolis Colts (5-2)
If this was the BCS, the Indianapolis Colts would have quite a resume to show off.
A 20-point win over the 49ers in San Francisco is surpassed by victories over the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, both 6-1 this season.
How is Chuck Pagano’s team doing it? It has happened in various ways, to say the least.
Quarterback Andrew Luck has done a better job of protecting the football and the Colts have done a better job of giving it back to him. Chuck Pagano’s team has already forced 13 turnovers, just two less than all of last season.
Outside linebacker Robert Mathis leads the NFL with 11.5 sacks, already tying a career high. The Indianapolis offense is more balanced than a year ago. The Colts rank eighth in the NFL in rushing, totaling 129.3 yards per game on the ground. And Luck has played a big role in this regard as well, running for 183 yards and totaling a team-high three rushing touchdowns.
Now let’s see if Pagano’s team can roll to a division title and host a playoff game this season.
San Diego Chargers (4-3)
Led by first-time NFL head coach Mike McCoy, the San Diego Chargers have been a bit up and down so far in 2013.
And fortunately for McCoy, there have been more ups than downs, especially as of late.
The Bolts have won two straight games, and while quarterback Philip Rivers has been solid in those victories, it’s also worth noting that all facets of the team have played well since that 27-17 Sunday night loss to the Oakland Raiders.
In wins over the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars, running back Ryan Mathews ran for at least 100 yards in each contest and the San Diego defense did not allow a touchdown in either game.
Although the Kansas City Chiefs (7-0) and Denver Broncos (6-1) own pretty impressive records, neither has faced the Chargers this season. And with five games left versus AFC West rivals, anything is possible when it comes to this intriguing team.
Tennessee Titans (3-4)
A promising 3-1 start has suddenly gone the wrong way for the Tennessee Titans. But this is still an intriguing team that should benefit from the time off.
In September, Mike Munchak’s club posted wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers and New York Jets.
But Tennessee has now dropped three games in a row, albeit to a pretty formidable trio in the Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. Those three clubs have combined for an imposing 18-3 record to date in 2013.
And those first two setbacks came without quarterback Jake Locker, injured in that aforementioned win over the Jets. Enter backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had his usual issues hanging onto the football. That was bad news for a Titans team that did not commit a turnover in its first four games.
Locker returned last week and threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns (one interception) in the loss to the Niners.
Another week of healing certainly won’t hurt the Titans and their emerging quarterback.