Colts-Jaguars Preview

Matt Hasselbeck will likely play again in place of an injured Andrew Luck despite dealing with some ailments of his own.

The Indianapolis Colts quarterback will also try for a better performance Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars while helping his team stay in first place in the lackluster AFC South.

Hasselbeck was forced to leave in the fourth quarter of a 45-10 drubbing in Pittsburgh last weekend, and an MRI showed he has a mild rib separation and a stiff neck.

"I took an awkward hit on top of the head and jacked my neck up pretty good," he said.

The 40-year-old Hasselbeck went through the first practice of the week Wednesday with a "normal workload."

"I feel good right now," he said. "You don't need to feel good on Monday or Tuesday, you've just got to feel good on Wednesday and more importantly, Sunday."

Hasselbeck has started the past three games in place of Luck, who continues to recover from a lacerated kidney and a partially torn abdominal muscle. Hasselbeck threw two touchdowns in each of the first two as the Colts pushed their winning streak without their franchise quarterback to four games.

He had 315 yards in a 25-12 victory against Tampa Bay on Nov. 29 but had just 169 and two interceptions last week.

The Colts (6-6), however, remained in a tie for first place in the AFC South with Houston's 30-21 defeat at Buffalo earlier in the day.

Indianapolis hosts the Texans in a possible division title-deciding showdown next weekend and will try to head into that important matchup with a little momentum by earning a seventh consecutive win over Jacksonville (4-8).

"Everything is out there in front of us," coach Chuck Pagano said. "All the goals we set out to reach are still attainable."

The Colts needed overtime for a 16-13 win over the visiting Jaguars on Oct. 4 - the first game Luck missed in his career because of an injured right shoulder. Hasselbeck passed for 282 yards and a touchdown in his first start in three years.

Jacksonville has lost close games in each of the past two weeks after winning three of four. It couldn't hold a four-point lead in the fourth quarter last Sunday in a 42-39 loss at Tennessee.

Blake Bortles connected on a career-high five touchdowns and has set a Jaguars single-season record with 27. Allen Robinson caught three TDs and broke another franchise mark with his 11th this year while becoming the Jaguars' first 1,000-yard receiver since 2005.

Jacksonville's defense, meanwhile, will not have middle linebacker Paul Posluszny because of a broken right hand suffered in the fourth quarter last weekend. He has undergone surgery and will be replaced this week by Jordan Tripp, who gets his first NFL start.

Posluszny's absence could prove a huge blow to a unit that's given up a combined 73 points in the past two games. The defense gave up 183 rushing yards to Tampa Bay in October in the other game Posluszny missed due to injury.

"We've got some good players, and right now we're not playing fast," coach Gus Bradley said. "We can get it right. Those guys in there understand that and they know we've got to get it right."

Bradley's second-leading receiver Allen Hurns was cleared for practice this week after sitting out last week with a concussion. Hurns, who has 48 catches for 758 yards, had a career-best 11 receptions for 116 yards in the loss in Indianapolis.

Rookie running back T.J. Yeldon had one of his two 100-yard performances in that game but is averaging 54.4 in his last five.

Bortles had 298 yards and one TD in the October meeting with the Colts.

Indianapolis has won the last three matchups in Jacksonville by a combined 108-30 score and claimed a 44-17 victory in the latest Sept. 21, 2014.

The Colts could get right guard Hugh Thornton back from an elbow injury that kept him out last week. First-round draft pick Philip Dorsett might prove healthy enough to play after dealing with a lower leg injury that's kept him out since Week 7.

Tackle Anthony Castonzo remains week to week with his ailing right knee and linebacker Jerrell Freeman (hamstring) has the same status. Fellow linebacker Nate Irving was placed on injured reserve Tuesday because of a fractured wrist suffered last Sunday.