It is a good thing the AFC kind of blows this year. It is no coincidence that the Colts had maybe their best day of the season without stepping on the field:
New Orleans 37 – San Diego 32
Cleveland 23 – Jacksonville 17
New York 21 – Pittsburgh 14
Two teams got their second loss and the Colts gained some significant ground against much of last year’s playoff field. Is it kind of sad that I’m so excited about these results? Yes. Do I care? No. The Colts need a lot of luck to get back on track and a bunched up AFC should do the trick. Hey, I’m just looking for a reason to care at this point. This was big.
Of course this day will only matter if they go on the road and beat the undefeated Titans tomorrow night. The Colts have won 8 of their past 10 against the Titans. Manning sat out last years finale and thus Tennessee’s only “real” victory came on a 60 yard field goal by Rob Bironas. A win saves the season and sets up an unconventional Manning – Cassel showdown. Winner gets momentum and a potential tiebreaker.
We know how big this game is to the Colts, but what about the Titans? How about this: if they win this game they win the South. That sounds like hyperbole, but it is not an overstatement. They would be four games up on the entire division. Stunning, because we are just seven games into the season. They would also have a two-game lead on in the race for the AFC’s one-seed. So, yeah, they have a lot to play for, too. If the Titans lose? The Colts would be two games back with the rematch taking place in week 17 in Indianapolis. Two games is still a comfortable margin, but Tennessee has a tough month ahead. After MNF they host the Packers before heading on the road to Chicago and Jacksonville. I think Monday night’s game is as big as it gets in the NFL regular season.