RTC: Colts actually in the playoff hunt

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Houston Texans

Wade Phillips breaks down the defense position by position with Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle.

Houston’s the pace-setter in the AFC and Connor Barwin did a lot of tone-setting for the defense in the win over Baltimore, says Nate Dunlevy of Bleacher Report.

To which I say: The scheme freed Barwin up more than once, and it had to be a relief for him to finally get some stats. He has played effectively, but to go six games without a sack after an 11.5-sack season was surely difficult.

Indianapolis Colts

Brace yourself: The Colts are in the playoff hunt, says Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star.

To which I say: In a lot of ways, this is the best-case scenario for the Colts so far. And the rest of the AFC is being quite cooperative, too.

Reality checks from Phillip B. Wilson of the Star: The Colts have an NFL-low three takeaways, Andrew Luck’s gone two games without a touchdown pass and Jerraud Powers has been getting picked on but made a big play at a big moment.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Maurice Jones-Drew will miss the Green Bay game and indications are his left foot injury could keep him out for a long stretch, says Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union.

One, 7-yard catch for Justin Blackmon in Oakland reopened the conversation about the rookie receiver’s progress, says Ryan O’Halloran of the T-U.

To which I say: For how much they talk about the slow process, it's hard to expect big things right now.

The close ones are hurting, says John Oehser of Jaguars.com.

Tennessee Titans

There is no target date for Jake Locker’s return from his shoulder injury, but he’s still the man when he’s ready, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. Matt Hasselbeck will start his fourth consecutive game Sunday against the Colts.

To which I say: Right now, it’s probably for the best that Hasselbeck continues to play given the Titans have finally won two in a row.

Mike Munchak is emphasizing that Chris Johnson’s improvement is a team effort, says John Glennon of The Tennessean.