In Week 3, contenders started to emerge in the division. It’s still a tight race, but the Texans and Colts jumped out in front with big wins last Sunday. Houston went on the road and beat the Chargers, a playoff team last season. Indianapolis held on to beat Atlanta, who was coming off of a big win on Sunday Night Football the week before. The only division game of the week was on Thursday night when the Jaguars dominated the Titans. This week, with no division games, the Colts and Texans will look to run away with the division. On the other end, Jacksonville and Tennessee will try to fight their way back towards the top of the division.
Houston Texans 2-1, 1-0 in division
Indianapolis Colts 2-1, 1-0 in division
Jacksonville Jaguars 1-2, 1-1 in division
Tennessee Titans 1-2, 0-2 in division
Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts
The Raiders have dealt with a lot of internal strife over the last couple of weeks thanks to Antonio Brown. However, they still came out of the gate hot with a win and a great start against the Chiefs. Since going up 10-0 on the Chiefs in Week 2, Oakland has been outscored 62-14. Heading into Indianapolis to face a hot Colts team won’t make this early-season stretch any easier for the Raiders. Jacoby Brissett has looked plenty capable of leading this talented roster and that should continue in Week 4.
The Colts will win their third straight and look like the favorite in the division even after losing Andrew Luck. This one may be over early in the game on Sunday as well with the Raiders limping into the game.
Prediction: Colts 38 Raiders 23
Tennessee Titans at Atlanta Falcons
The Titans were embarrassed on Thursday night in Jacksonville. Marcus Mariota looked lost and Mike Vrabel made some questionable coaching decisions. This is a second straight disappointing defeat after the inspiring Week 1 victory in Cleveland. Tennessee has a talented roster but hasn’t lived up to the hype in recent weeks. They will need to get a win in Atlanta to keep themselves firmly in the playoff picture through the first quarter of the season. The Falcons will also be looking to bounce back as they could easily be 0-3 at this point in the season.
The Titans will fall short on the road once again. The season wouldn’t be over for Tennessee after a loss this week, but things would have to turn around quick. This will be close, but Atlanta gets back to .500 at home.
Prediction: Falcons 24 Titans 20
Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans
The Texans have been the most impressive team in the division early in the season. Last year’s division winner took the Saints down to the last play in New Orleans. Then, they’ve won two tough games to bounce back to 2-1. Now, they face a Panthers team that is missing their starting quarterback, but looked solid last week in Atlanta. Kyle Allen threw four touchdowns last week in his first start and seems capable of starting for Carolina.
He won’t play well enough on the road this week. The Texans will win their third straight game and keep pace in the division through four games. The Panthers will drop to 1-3 and may be without Newton for a good amount of the season.
Prediction: Texans 23 Panthers 14
Jacksonville Jaguars at Denver Broncos
Jacksonville has looked impressive over the last two weeks. Gardner Minshew has been the surprise breakout rookie of the year early in the season. He looks confident as a passer despite being a sixth-round pick. The defense also seems to be just as good as everyone assumed it would be, when it’s not going up against Patrick Mahomes. Denver has struggled through three games. They’ve competed in every game but dropped all three.
The Broncos will be at home, but the Mile High atmosphere won’t be enough to slow down the Jaguars. Jacksonville will get back to .500 and for the second straight week, Tennessee will be the only team to lose in the division.
Prediction: Jaguars 17 Broncos 13