Week 2 was an extremely interesting week for the AFC South. The Jacksonville Jaguars underlined their potential and reinforced their position as one of the best teams in the AFC. The Indianapolis Colts went on the road and handed the Redskins their first loss demonstrating they could be frisky this year. As for the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans? Well frankly who knows what to make of them!
You never want to make too much of the first two weeks as often September is just an extension of the preseason as teams start working themselves out. However, there will be some real optimism in Northern Florida and some serious pessimism in Texas following this week. Without further ado let’s break down the key points from each of the three games involving the AFC South this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars 31 vs New England Patriots 20
The Jacksonville Jaguars laid down an absolutely statement against the Patriots on Sunday. The game had similar vibes to last years AFC championship game with the Jaguars flying out of the gate and then seemingly stalling a little. However, this time the defense came up big in a crucial moment and the Jaguars then never looked back as they cruised to an 11-point win at home against the defending AFC champions.
I want to start with the positives. Despite not having Leonard Fournette the run game was solid with 104 yards on 24 rushes. That unit will have better stat lines in other games but they essentially did exactly what they needed to do without their main man.
Corey Grant was the revelation however, catching six of his seven targets for 56 yards and just simply giving the Patriots a headache all of the time. He was part of a passing game that just exploded. Blake Bortles victimised Eric Rowe all day and ended up with 377 yards and one touchdown on 29 completions and 45 attempts. Among the receivers Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook stepped up big time in crucial spots. Cole was a menace all game and Westbrook broke a huge play to essentially seal the game. It was a superb outing from the whole offense.
The defense were also good, keeping Tom Brady on his toes and allowing their offense to build a huge lead. Dante Fowler forced a fumble at a crucial moment which was the defenses big game defining moment. Basically this defense did exactly what we expected them to do.
My only concerns coming out of the game is that the Jaguars may have treated this like their Super Bowl. The Patriots looked awfully vanilla on both sides of the ball and that may be because they know they will likely see this team again later in the season. On the contrary the Jaguars offense seemed to be roaring and I just wonder if they have shown the Patriots too much, which could come back to bite them. My only other concern is Bortles’ interception, when he threw into double coverage, which if it had not been for Fowler could have set the Patriots up for a come back. It is one thing to be aggressive but it that was a little careless.
All in all it was a great team performance from the Jaguars and sets them up really nicely going forward. If their offense can play like this the majority of the season they are going to have a real shot at the number one seed in the AFC.
Indianapolis Colts 21 @ Washington Redskins 9
There is not a huge amount to say about this game. The Colts did their business and came home with an impressive win. Luck did enough but was fairly poor finishing with 179 yard, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The headlines will rightly go to Jordan Wilkins who had 61 yards rushing on 10 carries, showing himself as the potential number one back for this team.
This game really belong to the defense as they kept the Redskins out of the end zone and racked up some amazing numbers as a group with 80 total tackles and three sacks.
This game demonstrated that the Colts will be frisky this year and should be in most games. However, it probably tells you more about how bad the Cardinals are that this Redskins team swept them aside last week.
Tennessee Titans 20 vs Houston Texans 17
This was a really ugly game all around. The Titans relied on their defense, kicker and a trick play on special teams to get past the Texans. The Titans will take this all day having not had Marcus Mariota available, after he woke up with a lack of feeling in his fingers due to his elbow injury. Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis did what they needed to without being special and Corey Davis caught 5-of-7 for 55 yards to assert himself as the man in this passing game.
The Texans flashed in moments but paid for sloppiness on their special teams. They did not bother to cover the gunner, leading to a 66-yard trick play to get the Titans rolling. Their offensive line continued to be bad, surrendering four sacks and 10 quarterback hits. The positives for the Texans is that Will Fuller had a big day and DeAndre Hopkins got himself 110 yards and a touchdown. However, this offense just looks disjointed to start the season. Their 0-2 starts means the Texan now have just a 10% chance of making the playoffs according to fivethirtyeight.com. Meanwhile for the Titans, teams with a 1-1 record have a 41% chance of making the playoffs. However, they will need Marcus Mariota back if they are to have a chance of making that a reality.
Image Credit: Boston Globe