Surging Colts show up in prime time

Surging Colts show up in prime time
November 7, 2012, 3:33 pm
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Andrew Luck quickly is erasing the pain of the divorce with Peyton Manning for Colts fans. Now, he and the suddenly playoff-contending Colts head to Jacksonville, where just about everything about the Jaguars is painful.

The Colts (5-3) have won three straight and four of five to firmly plant themselves in the AFC wild-card picture. Luck comes off one of the great quarterbacking games for any rookie, ever - better, even, than Manning managed with Indianapolis in 1998. He completed 30 of 48 passes for 433 yards and two touchdowns for a 105.6 quarterback rating in the victory over Miami. The 433 yards set an NFL single-game record by a rookie quarterback, and Luck became the only rookie aside from Manning with four 300-yard passing games.

Indianapolis has risen to 12th in the AP Pro32 rankings and is a 3-point favorite against No. 31 Jacksonville (1-7).

It's a nice matchup for Indy, which has been stingy on defense lately and timely on offense. Defensive leader Dwight Freeney wants everyone, especially the younger players - and there are plenty of them on the roster - to take things in stride.

``They're experiencing it for the first time and it's up to the older guys to kind of keep them, `all right, look, it's about this week, who cares what happened last week, who cares how many games we've won in a row, it doesn't matter,''' Freeney said. ``We have to get this victory coming up.''

Jacksonville ranks last in total offense, has scored 117 points, 16 fewer than any other team, and has dropped five in a row. But the Jaguars, 6-21 in their last 27 games, have three of those wins against the Colts, including their only victory in 2012, 22-17 in Week 3.

Nearly three dozen Colts shaved their heads in a show of support for coach Chuck Pagano, who is undergoing treatment for leukemia. The best way to show support is to keep winning.

COLTS, 17-13

No. 8 Denver (minus 4) at No. 25 Carolina

Broncos ``manning up'' behind Peyton and coach John Fox, who was fired by Panthers.

BEST BET: BRONCOS 31, PANTHERS 24

No. 13 Detroit (minus 2) at No. 18 Minnesota

Lions trending upward, Vikings the other way. That ends here.

UPSET SPECIAL: VIKINGS, 21-20

No. 2 Houston (plus 1) at No. 3 Chicago

On a neutral field, would pick Texans. Not in Soldier Field, especially at night.

BEARS, 19-16

No. 32 Kansas City (plus 12 1/2) at No. 10 Pittsburgh, Monday night

Steelers getting back to power game, will pummel awful Chiefs.

STEELERS, 30-13

No. 1 Atlanta (minus 2) at No. 17 New Orleans

Falcons will lose this season, just not here.

FALCONS, 34-28

No. 28 Buffalo (plus 11) at No. 6 (tie) New England

Simple fact: Patriots are matchup nightmare for Bills.

PATRIOTS, 36-23

No. 27 Oakland (plus 7 1/2) at No. 9 Baltimore

Simple fact II: Raiders don't handle travel to East Coast very well.

RAVENS, 30-21

No. 19 Dallas (pick `em) at No. 20 Philadelphia

Once a prime matchup, now just an eyesore.

COWBOYS, 21-17

No. 26 St. Louis (plus 11 1/2) at No. 4 San Francisco

Niners don't often have such a big spread. Maybe too big ...

49ERS, 20-10

No. 6 (tie) New York Giants (minus 4) at No. 22 Cincinnati

Giants need to rekindle offense and sliding Bengals might provide opportunity.

GIANTS, 22-17

No. 16 San Diego (plus 3) at No. 14 Tampa Bay

Vincent Jackson can't wait to get back at Chargers.

BUCCANEERS, 33-17

No. 29 Tennessee (plus 6) at No. 15 Miami

Until Titans stop someone on defense, we're not picking them.

DOLPHINS, 26-14

No. 24 New York Jets (plus 6 1/2) at No. 11 Seattle

Watch out for Seahawks in NFC wild-card race.

SEAHAWKS, 17-13

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2012 RECORD:

Against spread: 9-5 (53-75-3). Straight up: 10-4 (76-56)

Best Bet: 4-4-1 against spread, 7-2 straight up.

Upset special: 6-3 against spread, 4-5 straight up.

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Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL