After a crazy week of overtime games, with successful and not so successful fourth down tries, the AFC South is coming into focus. The Titans still hold the division lead after they walked off in overtime with a Marcus Mariota to Corey Davis touchdown against the Eagles. The Jaguars are tied at the top after taking care of business at home against the Jets. Then the Colts and Texans are two games back after their overtime fiasco, in which the Colts snatched defeat from the jaws of, I guess, a tie? This week the division splits up with no divisional matchups. However, a matchup of AFC contenders could shake up the division race.
Tennessee Titans 3-1, 2-0 in division
Jacksonville Jaguars 3-1, 0-1 in division
Houston Texans 1-3, 1-1 in division
Indianapolis Colts 1-3, 0-1 in division
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (Thursday)
Andrew Luck looks like he’s back from his injury, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Colts roster just isn’t that good around him. His only great wide receiver, T.Y. Hilton, isn’t expected to play, so Luck won’t have a lot of options. The defense hasn’t been as bad as they look on paper, but they’re still not good enough to slow down Tom Brady.
The Patriots are looking to make up for losing two in a row earlier in the year, and at home on a short week, it shouldn’t be too hard. New England will also be getting wide receiver Julian Edelman back from suspension this week. Everything points to a big Patriots win at home this week and they should get back above .500, while the Colts lose their third straight game.
Prediction: Patriots 34 Colts 13
Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills
The Titans have won three straight, despite being hampered by injuries and having to play the longest game in NFL history in Week 1. The offense seemed to finally get going in the second half against Philadelphia as Marcus Mariota scored three touchdowns late to lift the Titans to the win. The defense suffered some injuries, but it doesn’t look like anyone will miss Sunday’s game outside of safety Kenny Vaccaro.
The Bills have looked terrible this season outside of their surprise win in Minnesota two weeks ago. Josh Allen has made poor decisions and struggled against a mediocre Packers defense last week. This game is in Buffalo, so that should give the Bills a little bit of help, and this game has trap game written all over it for the Titans. However, I believe Mike Vrabel will get Tennessee ready to go and take care of Buffalo to get to 4-1.
Prediction: Titans 27 Bills 17
Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans
The Texans finally got their first win of the season in Indianapolis last week, but probably shouldn’t. Had Frank Reich not gone for it on fourth down in his own territory late in overtime, Houston would be 0-3-1. The offense finally looked good on Sunday, but the defense allowed four Luck touchdowns. Houston has talent on paper and can still come back to contend in the division, but they’ll need to start executing.
The Cowboys are coming off of a big win at home against the Lions. They currently sit at 2-2. Dallas has struggled offensively and doesn’t have any big weapons outside of running back Ezekiel Elliot. The Texans are desperate and at home they should be able to knock off the middling Cowboys. Deshaun Watson should be able to connect with Deandre Hopkins against a weak Dallas secondary and win on Sunday night.
Prediction: Texans 35 Cowboys 27
Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs
This is a strength versus strength matchup. The Jaguars defense is elite and hasn’t let any offense this year really get going. However, the Chiefs have an electric young quarterback in Patrick Mahomes who has been tearing through defenses for four weeks. He would most likely be the MVP if the season ended today.
On the other side, the Jaguars offense will be missing Leonard Fournette for the third game this year. Blake Bortles has been able to get this team to 3-1 without a healthy Fournette and the Chiefs defense is weak. I believe the Jaguars have a stronger defense than the Chiefs’ offense, and Jacksonville’s weak offense is also stronger than the Chiefs’ weak defense. Jacksonville gets to 4-1 with a trip to Dallas next week.
Prediction: Jaguars 20 Chiefs 17