State of the AFC South: Week 7

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 18: Houston Texans Wide Receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) makes a first down reception over the middle during second half action during the NFL game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans on December 18, 2016, at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire)

The State of the AFC South has not been good for the past two weeks, unless you’re a Texans fan. For the second straight week, Houston was the only team to pull out a win. Their comeback win over the Bills was their third in a row and has now tied them for first in the division. The rest of the division has struggled mightily. The Colts lost to the Jets Sunday and are dealing with lots of injuries. The Titans followed up their terrible loss to the Bills with one of the worst performances of the year against the Ravens.  Finally, the Jaguars were blown out of the building against the Cowboys, and it was shown that their generational defense has some holes. The division has big games this week that could change the outlook for the rest of the season.

Current Standings

Tennessee Titans 3-3, 2-0 in division

Houston Texans 3-3, 1-1 in division

Jacksonville Jaguars 3-3, 0-1 in division

Indianapolis Colts 1-5, 0-1 in division

Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles Chargers (London)

The Titans offense hasn’t scored a touchdown in three of their last four games.  This includes the performance last Sunday where Tennessee gave up 11 sacks.  The Chargers defense has been solid in their last two games, only allowing 24 points total. The Titans better figure out how to protect Marcus Mariota fast because the Chargers pass rush has been great as well. Joey Bosa won’t play, but Melvin Ingram is an elite pass rusher on the other side.

Most London games are blowouts, and I’ve been much more impressed with Los Angeles this season.  Their only two losses were against the top two teams in the league, the Rams and Chiefs. The Titans will head into the bye week with a lot of work to do after their first trip to London.

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Prediction: Chargers 30 Titans 10

Buffalo Bills at Indianapolis Colts

The Bills have been trouble for the AFC South this year. The Titans fell to them two weeks ago and the Texans were two awful Nathan Peterman interceptions away from losing at home. The Colts will get them this week, and Andrew Luck may not have his top two weapons again, in T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle. He’s done his best to carry this team to wins the past four weeks, but has fallen short every time.

This week he will get it done. The Bills will have to start either Peterman or journeyman Derek Anderson. Neither of those options will get a win with what Buffalo has on their roster.

Prediction: Colts 27 Bills 3

Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars

The biggest game of the week for the division.  If the Titans lose in London Sunday morning, this game will be for the lead in the AFC South. The Texans have won three straight, while the Jaguars have lost three out of four. Houston could easily be 0-6 right now, but have made plays late in games to pull out close victories. Jacksonville’s “great” defense has given up 73 points in the past two weeks, and now gets Deandre Hopkins.

I believe two out of the three Texans wins were more of the other team losing than Houston winning.  The Jaguars defense and Blake Bortles get back on track at home and keep at least a share of the lead in the AFC South.

Prediction: Jaguars 24 Texans 20



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