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Recently signed Colts running back Dominic Rhodes dodged a huge bullet Sunday.
Calling the Jaguars the Colts’ little brother was ill-advised, particularly for a guy who had yet to play a snap in the NFL this season. He should have left the trash talk to those who had contributed.
Luckily for Rhodes his teammates backed up his words and the Colts prevailed, defeating the Jaguars 34-24 to take control of the AFC South. To be fair, Rhodes pulled his weight, playing well when called upon Sunday.
And as expected, just as quickly as it jumped off, the media is right back on the Colts’ bandwagon. The Colts have been anointed the Jaguars’ older brother and the AFC South champs by many this week.
Those crowning the Colts might want to take a deep breath and step back for a moment.
The Jaguars and Colts split their regular season series and currently have identical overall and division records.
If both teams win out, the Colts will hold the tiebreaker, but they have a tougher road ahead than the Jaguars – traveling to Oakland (7-7) and hosting Tennessee (6-8).
The Raiders are the league’s second-best rushing team and have won two of their least three – including a decisive victory over a Chargers team that thumped the Colts. And the Titans weren’t exactly pushovers for the Colts in their 30-28 Week 14 victory.
Don’t let a two-game win streak fool you – the Colts are hardly a runaway train primed to barrel through the rest of the schedule.
Defensively they looked better Sunday, but they have to get outside linebacker Clint Session and cornerback Kelvin Hayden back. The run game got going too, but it was a couple breakaway runs, not sustained success. The passing game looks like a different animal with Austin Collie back, but after suffering another concussion, it’s hard to believe he’ll return for the regular season, if at all.
The bottom line: The Colts need to take care of business before they are anointed the Jaguars’ older brother. The label would be a tough sell if the Jaguars emerge as division champs, wouldn’t it?
If the Colts don’t win out, there are still scenarios that would give them the division crown, but then they’ll be counting on the Texans or Redskins (both 5-9) to take down the Jaguars.
Relying on either of those teams will likely result in an early January vacation for the Colts.