• No Peyton? No problem forLuck, surging Indianapolis
     | November 08,2012

    Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck looks to throw during his monster game against the Miami Dolphins in Indianapolis last Sunday.

    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.


    No. 13 Detroit (minus 2)

    at No. 18 Minnesota

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


    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


    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.


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

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