After a tough Week 1 the AFC South bounced back in a big way in Week 3. The division went 3-1 including a win that may be one of the biggest of the first half of the season. The Jacksonville Jaguars pulled out a monster win over the New England Patriots to advance to 2-0 and remain atop the division. However, the wins for the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts may have been ever more important for their season as a whole. Starting a season 0-2 is a major issue. 90% of the teams that start 0-2 have failed to make the playoffs that season. In contrast, 41% of teams that start 1-1 make the playoffs.
Now we enter Week 3 which has some equally important games. The Titans face the Jaguars in a game that could have huge implications in who wins the division come seasons end. The Texans get to face another 0-2 team knowing that a loss all but eliminates them from the playoffs.
Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars put together a complete performance last week against the Patriots. Their defense did exactly what it advertises and made life extremely hard for the Patriots. Whether it is Marcus Mariota or Blaine Gabbert at quarterback it is going to be a long day for the Titans. However, Mike Vrabel demonstrated last week what he provides as a head coach. Vrabel used every option available to him to pull offense out of no where. He does not know the Jaguars as well as he does the Texans but he seems to have the bravery to go for it and he will make sure the Jaguars cannot take this game easy.
The offense was superb in Week 2 against the Patriots. They utilised both aspects of the game to the max and showed the potential they have if they get clicking. The Titans defense is fairly middling in the NFL this season and I think the Jaguars can take advantage of them. The Jaguars coaches would have to be crazy to completely strip back their offense this offense after seeing its potential last week. They should be able to do to the Titans in Week 3 what they did to the Patriots in Week 2.
The Jaguars are nine point favourites in this game and the over/under is just 39. I struggle to see how both teams in this game do not score at least 17 points and I think they both get into the 20s. In this day and age of the NFL 39 points is extremely low. I am backing the Jaguars giving up the points and over this week.
Indianapolis Colts @ Philadelphia Eagles
This game is a tough one to call. The Colts offense has not looked cohesive and now they face one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. While this game is not a write-off for the Colts it is probably the least important of this weeks games for the AFC South teams. I expect the Colts to run a fairly stripped back offense this week, to save their bullets for more important divisional games. If they win this game that is a bonus.
They are facing the Eagles with a returning Carson Wentz. However, Wentz will have a severely reduced receiving corps and be without two of his best running backs. The Eagles offense has looked disjointed and somewhat messy this season. I do not think Wentz’s return immediately fixes things but it will be a step in the right direction. The Colts defense has been better than expected but it is still one of the lesser ones in the league. Even with their struggles the Eagles should have enough to get the win.
The Eagles are currently six and a half to seven-point favourites and the game has an over/under of around 47. I think the Colts stay in this game simply because their quarterback never takes no for an answer. I would be tempted to bet the Colts getting the points but with this being their second road game in a row it would not surprise me if fatigue set in and they faded down the stretch.
Houston Texans vs. New York Giants
Once again the Texans are in a battle of the bad offensive lines. However, the difference is that this time they are the home team in the equation. Bad offensive lines do not travel and the Giants have a very bad offensive line. This will be their third week in a row facing a good defensive line and I expect the Texans defense to dominate. This should be the perfect week for J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney to register their first sack of the season. Finally, the Texans defense ranks fourth best in the league against running backs. Saquon Barkley is better than any running back they have faced so far meaning this will be a major test. If the Texans can control Barkley and force the Giants into running situations they can dominate this game.
Deshaun Watson has been sacked seven times already this season, ranking him joint fifth highest in the NFL entering Week 3. The Giants defense has just one sack this season, which will be a relief to that offensive line. With deep threats like DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, the damage Watson can do if he get time in the pocket is immense. In addition, the Giants rank third worst in rush yards per attempt given up, meaning Lamar Miller should have a field day.
The Texans are currently seven-point favourite for the game which I think might be pushing it. The Giants are not good but until I see the Texans put a complete performance together I will struggle to back them as seven-point favourites. Equally the game over/under is 42, which with these offenses is certainly no lock either way.
Jacksonville Jaguars -9 vs. Tennessee Titans. Over/under 39 – Jaguars and Over
Indianapolis Colts +6.5 @ Philadelphia Eagles. Over/under 47 – No bet
Houston Texans -7 vs. New York Giants. Over/under 42 – No bet
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