A week after seeing three of the four teams tied atop the division, we got a little more clarity in Week 14. Technically, three teams are still alive, but really it’s a two horse race now.
Houston Texans (7-6)
Looking Back: After dropping three straight and opening the door for Indianapolis and Tennessee, the Texans promptly shut the door. On the Colts at least. Houston notched their second ever win in Indianapolis and swept the Colts for the first time in franchise history. In the win, Houston didn’t bother to throw much, and relied on a solid running game to carry the team to victory. They were positive (+2 I think?) in the turnover category, and it showed. Brock Osweiler avoided the huge mistake, and that was enough this week.
Looking Ahead: The Texans keep it in the division this week as they head back home to face the Jaguars. In their last meeting, Jacksonville gave Houston a scare, but Blake Bortles made some costly errors through the game. I’m guessing Houston will use a similar Game Plan to what they used against the Colts. Run the ball, and limit the amount of chances Brock Osweiler has to make a mistake.
Prediction: It will probably be close again, but I think Houston’s defense gets them the win.
Tennessee Titans (7-6)
Looking Back: When your QB is 6 of 20 for 88 yards, you shouldn’t be winning games. But that’s exactly what the Titans did. In a week where numerous QBs struggled, Mariota was possibly the worst. And the Titans still won. They ran the ball and stopped the run. In fact, the Broncos ran 9 times for 18 yards for the entire game. Any time you can get Trevor Siemian to throw the ball 51 times, you are in good shape. The Titans were in good shape, becoming the only AFC South team to topple the defending champions.
Looking Ahead: It gets harder for the Titans as they head to Arrowhead stadium to face the Chiefs. Some would argue that the Chiefs are playing the best football in the league. This will be a tall task for the Titans as the Chiefs are looking to put the AFC West on lockdown. It might be a low scoring affair, but I’ll take Alex Smith any day over Mariota.
Prediction: Chiefs get this one at home.
Indianapolis Colts (6-7)
Looking Back: When you control your own destiny, you aren’t supposed to play the way the Colts did on Sunday. The team played mistake prone football, and cost themselves a chance to take charge in the AFC South. After the game, four players have been placed on the IR, so who knows who might take the field at some positions for the Colts. Yes, technically they’re still alive in the division, but it would take a minor miracle at this point.
Looking Ahead: The Colts travel north to take on the Vikings. Going into the Texans game, I said that however that played out, the same would happen in Minnesota. A lackluster offense and an opportunistic defense. The Colts only stand a chance if they can limit mistakes, because points will be at a premium against Minnesota. Remember this is also a Vikings team that is fighting to reach the playoffs.
Prediction: I think they’re a better team, but I don’t think Indy wins this one.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11)
Looking Back: Another week, another close game, and another loss. That has been the story of the Jaguars season. They play many teams close, but can’t pull out the victory. The Jaguars had chances against Minnesota, but they couldn’t make plays when it counted and Jacksonville again couldn’t protect Bortles.
Looking Ahead: While they’ve been eliminated from the playoffs, you know there is nothing the Jaguars would like more than to hurt the Texans’ chances of getting in. Last time they met Bortles threw some key interceptions in a Texans win. Much like what I said for Houston, if Bortles limits mistake, the Jaguars could pull off the upset.
Prediction: As I said, give me the Texans at home.