The Indianapolis Colts, who lost all three AFC South road games last season, have avenged two of them by beating Houston and Tennessee. Now comes the hardest part.
The Colts on Monday night go to Jacksonville, where they were beaten 44-17 late last year. That and losses to the Titans and Texans were forgotten, naturally, when Indy won the Super Bowl.
The Jaguars ran for 375 yards against Indy in that game, a symbol of the Colts' problems against the run. They were last in the NFL in that category in the regular season before stiffening in the playoffs.
``You do learn from that and we will go back in and watch that film to try and prevent what happened,'' said safety Bob Sanders, who missed that game with an injury. ``It will be a big week for us, to see how this defense stands up against another good team.''
Sanders, who also missed Indy's win this season over Tampa Bay before the bye week, is given credit for the improvement of the run defense last postseason. He is expected to be back, as are most of the other starters who missed the Bucs game, notably wide receiver Marvin Harrison and running back Joseph Addai.
They face a healthier and stronger Jacksonville side, which is 4-1 and has given up just 58 points. The Jaguars also are underappreciated, a combination of their plodding style and a small market that keeps them out of the spotlight.
``I love that position,'' linebacker Mike Peterson says. ``Sneak up on everybody and bite them. Like a snake. Everybody hates that snake that sneaks up and bites you.''
There's an outside chance that Indy, a 3-point favorite, could be looking ahead to a meeting in two weeks with New England, the only other team currently undefeated. That's unlikely - Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning are too canny for that.
But this game has the feel of an upset.
JAGUARS, 20-19
---
Tampa Bay (plus 1 1/2) at Detroit
Consistency counts and the Bucs are the more consistent team.
BUCS, 16-14

New England (minus 17) at Miami
The Patriots lost to the Dolphins in Miami last season and this would have the feeling of a trap game if the Dolphins hadn't sunk so far.
PATRIOTS, 41-7

Minnesota (plus 9 1/2) at Dallas
Even in a 48-27 loss, the Cowboys stopped the New England running game last week. A running game (rookie Adrian Peterson) is all the Vikings have.
COWBOYS, 27-10

Chicago (plus 5) at Philadelphia
Close to being a survival game for both teams.
EAGLES, 17-13

Pittsburgh (minus 3 1/2) at Denver
Two of the NFL's high-profile teams. But these Broncos are pretty bad.
STEELERS, 21-6

San Francisco (plus 9 1/2) at New York Giants
The Giants have a four-game winning streak that's demonstrated balance: good offense, good defense.
GIANTS, 24-13

Arizona (plus 7 1/2) at Washington
With Leinart and Warner, the Cards were competitive. Tim Rattay and Tim Hasselbeck?
REDSKINS, 24-7

Kansas City (plus 3) at Oakland
The Chiefs have won three of four. That's enough.
RAIDERS, 17-13

Baltimore (minus 3) at Buffalo
The Ravens are ready to be upset.
BILLS, 16-12

Tennessee (off) at Houston
The ``off'' is because of questions about Vince Young's quad. In any case ...
TEXANS, 20-17

Atlanta (plus 9) at New Orleans
Joey Harrington looked as demoralized Monday night as he used to look in Detroit.
SAINTS, 21-13

New York Jets (plus 6) at Cincinnati
Which team is the bigger disappointment?
BENGALS, 24-20

St. Louis (plus 9) at Seattle
Marc Bulger might be back for the Rams, but ...
SEAHAWKS, 27-20

LAST WEEK: 8-4-1 (spread); 10-3 (straight up)
SEASON: 46-38-5 (spread); 60-29 (straight up

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