The Houston Texans have taken full control of the AFC South with five consecutive wins after opening the season 0-3. The rest of the division sits at least 1.5 games back entering Week 9 of the season. Not only do they lead the division, but they just added a wide receiver to draw coverage opposite Deandre Hopkins in Demaryius Thomas. He will return to the home he just left this Sunday to face the Denver Broncos where the Texans could extend their lead on the rest of the pack. However, the Titans are the closest to Houston and are the only other team playing in the division this weekend. These two games could have a big impact on the remainder of the race in the AFC South.

Houston Texans at Denver Broncos

Denver may be 3-4 at this point in the season, but three of their losses have come at the hands of the two superpowers this year, the Chiefs and the Rams. Also, in all three of those games they only lost by one possession. The Broncos are not as bad as their record may show. The opposite may be true for the Texans, as they really haven’t beaten anyone of note this year. Wins over the Colts and Cowboys in overtime and the Bills, Jaguars, and Dolphins, who have all lost four out of five don’t impress me. They have also lost to the Titans led by Blaine Gabbert and the one-win Giants. The Texans may not be as good as their record shows.

The Texans have five straight wins, but that will end on Sunday. They have a lot of offensive firepower, but they are still weak up front and Von Miller and Bradley Chubb can take advantage of that. The Broncos show they are still in the AFC playoff race and beat the leader in the AFC South.

Prediction: Broncos 23 Texans 17

Tennessee Titans at Dallas Cowboys

This game looks like a matchup of similar teams. Both squads sit at 3-4 and are hoping to get back into the playoff race with a win. Both teams have solid defenses and extremely inconsistent offenses. I believe this game is going to come down to which quarterback shows up. Marcus Mariota and Dak Prescott have both been dropped off of the “Next Great Quarterbacks List” and can’t seem to figure it out. Whichever leader is able to make plays and avoid mistakes will take his team to victory.

I believe Marcus Mariota will do that on Monday Night Football. Last year, when the Titans faced the Colts on Monday, he played one of the better games of his career on one leg and willed them to victory. He will have the less skilled secondary to face, as the Titans will welcome Kenny Vaccaro back at strong safety. Mariota will take advantage and do enough to get Tennessee back to .500.

Prediction: Titans 27 Cowboys 17



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