INDIANAPOLIS — We're getting down to the stretch run.
And, by the way things have been working, it looks like we're going to have a three-horse race for the AFC South Division title. Whichever team is able to get hot at the right time will punch their ticket to the playoffs, while the other two teams — and the Jacksonville Jaguars — will watch from home.
Fortunately for the Indianapolis Colts (5-6), their Week 12 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving Night doesn't sting quite as much, considering the San Diego Chargers did them a huge favor by defeating the South-leading Houston Texans (6-5), 21-13, on Sunday. That allowed the Tennessee Titans (6-6), who defeated the lowly Chicago Bears, to get back into the swing of things.
The Jaguars (2-9), meanwhile, continued their tailspin with a loss to the Buffalo Bills.
For now, we'll continue monitoring that ever-important win column, and then, towards the end of the season, we'll break out the tiebreaker scenarios if needed to try to clear up this playoff picture. But before we get that far, let's take a comprehensive look around the AFC South during Week 12 of the 2016 regular season, via the AP:
• Buffalo Bills 28, Jacksonville Jaguars 21
LeSean McCoy scored twice, including a career-best 75-yard run, and the Buffalo Bills won their second in a row by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 28-21 on Sunday.
Tyrod Taylor's 16-yard touchdown pass to Justin Hunter with 10:46 remaining put the Bills ahead for good during a second half in which the teams traded the lead five times. Taylor also scored on a 7-yard run in helping to keep Buffalo in the playoff hunt.
The Bills (6-5) won for the second straight week when trailing at halftime after doing so just once last season.
Buffalo trailed the Jaguars 7-6 after two quarters on Sunday, and overcame a two-point deficit in a 16-12 win at Cincinnati last week.
Taylor also produced just the second fourth-quarter comeback of his career, and improved to 2-11 when the Bills trail by four or more at any point in a game.
The Jaguars (2-9) lost for the sixth straight game -- their longest skid since opening the 2014 season at 0-6.
The game was decided with four minutes left, when the Jaguars were unable to convert a fourth-and-9 at the Buffalo 46. Blake Bortles hit Marquise Lee on a crossing pattern over the middle, but he was limited to a 4-yard gain.
The Bills then took over and ran out the clock.
Bortles went 13 of 26 for 126 yards and two touchdowns, and also had a career-best 81 yards rushing.
The Jaguars' offense was hampered by injuries. Chris Ivory, who opened the scoring with a 2-yard run, was sidelined in the first half by a hamstring injury. And then Jacksonville lost receiver Allen Hurns, also with a hamstring injury while diving into the end zone on a 12-yard catch and run .
Hurns' touchdown put the Jaguars up 21-20 in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter.
The Bills responded with Taylor leading an eight-play, 76-yard drive which he capped with a perfectly placed pass to Hunter at the goal line. McCoy then dived across the goal line for the 2-point conversion.
McCoy finished with 103 yards rushing and showed few signs of being bothered a week after having surgery for a dislocated left thumb.
His two touchdowns came 33 seconds apart spanning halftime.
After scoring on a 7-yard run late in the second quarter, he opened the third quarter by scoring on Buffalo's first snap from scrimmage. Taking the handoff, McCoy burst off right tackle and blew past defensive backs Jalen Ramsey and Tashuan Gipson.• Tennessee Titans 27, Chicago Bears 21
Marcus Mariota threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns, and the Tennessee Titans hung on to beat the depleted Chicago Bears 27-21 on Sunday.
The Titans (6-6) gave their playoff hopes a boost, though they watched as Chicago (2-9) cut a 20-point lead to six in the fourth quarter.
Matt Barkley, starting for the injured Jay Cutler, led the late surge. The Bears had a first down at the Tennessee 7 in the final minute when Josh Bellamy dropped a pass in the end zone on first down. Barkley's next three attempts fell incomplete, preserving the win for Tennessee.
The Titans moved one game out of first place in the AFC South.
Mariota, putting together one of the best seasons ever by a Titans quarterback, came through with another solid performance. The second-year pro completed 15 of 23 passes.
Rishard Matthews added 64 yards receiving, including a diving touchdown grab near the end of the first half. Delanie Walker had three catches for 50 yards and a touchdown, and the Titans headed into their bye on a winning note after losing at Indianapolis last week.
With Cutler nursing a right shoulder injury, the Bears were forced to give Barkley his first career start. The former Southern California star struggled before coming on strong down the stretch, going 28 for 54 for 316 yards with the first three touchdowns of his career and two interceptions.
Barkley got picked off by Wesley Woodyard with the ball on the Tennessee 16 in the second quarter, and he was intercepted in the end zone by Da'Norris Searcy early in the third.
He did, however, throw a 6-yard touchdown to Deonte Thompson with just over three minutes left to cut it to 27-21. The Bears got the ball back on their 35 with 1:56 remaining after the Titans went three-and-out. But they couldn't complete the comebacks.
Barkley, who came in with six career interceptions, threw his first touchdown as a pro when he hit Daniel Brown for a 7-yarder for a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.
But it was all Titans the rest of the half.
They scored touchdowns on their next two possessions, with Derrick Henry turning the left corner for an 11-yard run and Mariota hitting Walker with a 4-yard pass .
The Bears then had a big opportunity after the Titans' LeShaun Sims got called for a 45-yard pass-interference penalty. But with the ball on the 16, Woodyard picked off a pass Barkley tried to squeeze to Ben Braunecker .
Matthews made it a 14-point game with a spectacular touchdown catch near the end of the half. With his back to the quarterback, he sprawled out to haul in a 29-yard pass in the end zone.• San Diego Chargers 21, Houston Texans 13
San Diego's Philip Rivers read all week about the Texans being 5-0 at home. He decided the Chargers should be the ones to end their perfect record in Houston.
"I don't like getting caught up in too much bulletin-board stuff, but I liked that, the fact this team was unbeaten at home, so let's go change that," Rivers said. "It was in my head all week that we could stop the streak."
Rivers did just that, throwing for 242 yards and three touchdowns to give the Chargers a 21-13 win over the mistake-prone Texans on Sunday. Dontrelle Inman had 119 yards receiving and a touchdown to help San Diego (5-6) to the victory.
The Texans (6-5) were done in by four turnovers, including three interceptions by Brock Osweiler. He was so bad Sunday that coach Bill O'Brien was asked twice after the game if he'd considered benching him for backup Tom Savage.
O'Brien said he wouldn't be benched but didn't elaborate, and Osweiler took the blame for the loss.
"I need to play better for us to win," he said. "I feel like our team gave us the opportunity to win today and I didn't play up to what I'm capable of doing, and that's on me and I'll get that cleaned up."
The Chargers were up by four in the fourth quarter when Rivers evaded the rush and delivered a 25-yard pass to Inman. Kareem Jackson was flagged for unnecessary roughness for a helmet-to-helmet hit on the play, leaving San Diego at the 12-yard line. Rivers delivered a touchdown pass to rookie Hunter Henry on the next play to push the lead to 21-10.
Osweiler's second interception came after that when he badly overthrew C.J. Fiedorowicz and Dwight Lowery made the easy grab.
Houston added a field goal with 37 seconds left and recovered an onside kick. But Osweiler's first shot at the end zone was knocked down, and the second one was intercepted as time expired.
It was yet another shaky performance for Osweiler, who has struggled in his first year in Houston after leaving to Denver to sign a $72 million contract. He has 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Despite his inconsistent play and a second straight loss, the Texans still have a 1/2 game lead on Tennessee in the weak AFC South .
Houston was driving in the third quarter when Lamar Miller fumbled at the end of a 20-yard run. He was initially ruled down, but San Diego challenged the call and it was overturned. But it didn't matter much as an interception by Quintin Demps gave Houston the ball back four plays later.
The Texans had a first down at the 6-yard line on their next drive before the offense stalled and they settled for a 19-yard field goal to cut the lead to 14-10 early in the fourth quarter.
Rivers found a wide-open Inman for a 52-yard touchdown pass that tied it at 7 in the second quarter. Osweiler was intercepted by Casey Hayward on the next drive, and San Diego took a 14-7 lead when Rivers connected with Tyrell Williams on a 21-yard scoring pass.
"Our defense has done an outstanding job ... of creating turnovers," San Diego coach Mike McCoy said. "We've made the most of those opportunities."
The Texans led 7-0 after a 1-yard touchdown run by Osweiler in the second quarter. Rookie Will Fuller had a 33-yard reception on that drive to put Houston in scoring position.