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State of the AFC South: Week 17

The last week of the season is here. And, for the first time, we have clarity in the division.

Indianapolis Colts v Oakland Raiders Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Week 17. It’s here. The final week of the NFL season is upon us. The division has settled down, and we now know who the champion is. The only thing left to settle is who will finish second and third.

Houston Texans (9-6)

Looking Back: It was an uninspiring win for the Texans in Week 16. I think I could copy and paste that sentence almost every week. The Texans looked bad, but got the job done. Tom Savage struggled to throw the ball (18-29 for 178 yards) and the Texans mustered less than 100 rushing yards. Yet, they won in a low scoring 12-10 Saturday Night game. Other than rushing yards, the Bengals statistically dominated the Texans, but a missed field goal in the waning seconds left the Bengals with a loss.

Looking Ahead: The Texans will head to Tennessee to face the Titans in the final week of the season. In terms of the playoffs, this game means nothing for the Texans, as they are locked into the fourth seed. They will host either Kansas City (again) or Oakland, depending on which one finishes second in the AFC West. Still, I would expect the Texans to roll with their regular starters in this game. Mainly because, I would imagine Bill O’Brien will want Savage to get as many game reps as possible.

Prediction: Even though the game cannot help or hurt the Texans’ standing, I think they win again this week to finish 10-6.

Tennessee Titans (8-7)

Looking Back: Not a good week for the Texans. A win in Jacksonville would have kept alive their playoff hopes. Instead, they were blown out and lost Marcus Mariota to a broken leg. I read that the Titans hope he can return for OTAs this summer. This means that the Titans will turn to none other than Matt Cassel for the final game of the season.

Looking Ahead: It’ll be Cassel vs. Savage to wrap up the season for (possibly) the top two teams in the AFC South. Exactly what we all expected. This should be a low scoring game, as both QBs could struggle against a superior defense. It’s the Titans gameplan anyway, but I would expect a lot of running from DeMarco Murray and Co.

Prediction: As I said, I don’t think the Titans win this one.

Indianapolis Colts (7-8)

Looking Back: It wasn’t pretty in Oakland. The Colts got behind 33-7, and were playing catch-up from there. While they nearly came back, the Colts simply made too many mistakes to win. The fake field goal was questionable (I liked it), and Luck’s two interceptions were, frankly, poor decisions. When your coach says that the team had no answers to the opposing team’s rushing attack, you know it wasn’t a good day at the office.

Looking Ahead: The Colts finish off the season at home against the Jaguars, as they will try to avoid getting swept by their division rival. A loss would mean that the Colts’ only division wins would have come against the Titans. Despite the clamour of some fans, the Colts will play all healthy starters (correctly so) against Jacksonville. A win would end the Colts’ season at .500 (again) and send them into the off-season.

Prediction: Colts win at home to end the season on a high note.

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-12)

Looking Back: A week ago, I mentioned that it was possible that the Jaguars could come out and play well after Gus Bradley’s firing. That’s exactly what happened. The Jaguars dominated the Titans, in no small part due to the tremendous play of Blake Bortles. The defense even got on the board when Jalen Ramsey punctuated the win with a 30 yard interception return.

Looking Ahead: The Jaguars roll into Indianapolis looking to sweep their division rival for the second time in franchise history. When these two teams met in London, the Jaguars outplayed the Colts on the way to their first win of the season. This time, the Jaguars have a new coach and, like the Colts, are looking to end a disappointing season on a high note.

Prediction: As I said, give me the Colts at home.