Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck

A lacerated kidney means the Indianapolis Colts are going to miss Andrew Luck for the next 2 to 6 weeks. Thanks to being in the AFC South and their soft remaining schedule, the injury to their star quarterback might not be so meaningful as it would be for most NFL teams.

Luck has already missed two games for the Colts this season. In both of them, with Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback, the Colts won. Their remaining opponents are their lowly division rivals (including the 3-5 Houston Texans who remain in contention for the top spot in the AFC South), the Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers (who have their own quarterback injury problems), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons. The degree of difficulty has just gone up with Luck out of the picture until early December probably, but far from impossible to finish well enough in order to retain the top spot in the division.

Luck, through seven games, isn’t having the best of seasons. He has completed just 55.3% of his passes while throwing for 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, while his passer rating has dropped to a career low of 74.9. His yards per attempt average (6.42) is also the lowest of his career. But the win over the Denver Broncos, both for him and the Colts, was a sign that showed this team has the talent to not just make the playoffs but do something meaningful there.

Hasselbeck has been in the league since 1998. He didn’t throw any interceptions in his two starts (against the Texans and Jaguars), throwing three touchdown passes and completing 63.2% of his passes. Obviously, he’s not the guy who helped the Seattle Seahawks in 2005 to make the Super Bowl, but he just might be the right kind of player to keep the Colts on course of maintaining the status quo, which means leaving this division behind.

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