Entering this week the AFC South could be cut down to virtually a two-horse race. The Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-1) have almost distanced themselves from the others. With the Indianapolis Colts losing Thursday and slipping to 1-4 they will be three full games out of first place if either the Titans or Jaguars win. The same may be the case if the Houston Texans if they do not win this week as they would also slip to 1-4. So what can we expect this week?
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs
This has the makings of the game of the week. It is a story of contrasts depending on which offense is on the field. The matchup of real intrigue is when the Chiefs offense and the Jaguars defense are on the field. Can the Jaguars superb defense shut down the high-flying Chiefs offense. If anyone has a chance to shut this offense down then the Jaguars are best suited. The key is going to be getting pressure on Patrick Mahomes early and often. The Broncos demonstrated last week that getting pressure up the middle is the way to attack this offense. The Jaguars have the pieces in place up the middle to be a threat. They also have the outside rushers to try to contain Mahomes and keep him in the pocket. This team also has the speed among the linebackers and defensive backs to try to stay with the weapons on this offense. It is going to be a very intriguing battle.
Where the game might be won and lost however is when the Jaguars defense is on the field. The Chiefs defense has been really bad this year and the Jaguars have been inconsistent. If The Jaguars can get the offense clicking efficiently and get into the mid-30s for points then they give this defense a chance to do their jobs. The run game without Leonard Fournette will be crucial. The Broncos gashed the Chiefs over and over again with the run game last week.
I am saying this will be a one score game and I think the Jaguars rise to the occasion on the road in Kansas City. This week I would 100% take the over which is currently set just below 50. Look to try to get those points up into the 60s if it means finding 3/1 or 4/1 odds. I am also going to take the Jaguars getting three points. I think they win this game and make another statement.
Tennessee Titans @ Buffalo Bills
This is a trap game for the Titans. Everyone expects them to win and if they are truly AFC contenders then they need to. Buffalo will not go down without a fight however. It is quite simple for the Titans. If they have prepared properly and execute on Sunday they will win and win handsomely. The Packers won 22-0 last week against the Bills and they were extremely sloppy. I do not want to dive too deep into this game because I think it is as simple as I said above. If the Titans are at 80% of their best then they will win by double-digits.
The Titans are giving up five points on the road. Usually I would stay clear but against the Bills I am all in on the Titans giving up the points this week. The over/under at 39 is extremely low but I would avoid that line. I am not convinced the Titans get much more than 20-points and I am not sure the Bills get above 14-17. However, if the Titans roll early they could get into the high-20s and then the Bills might get some cheap points late.
Houston Texans vs. Dallas Cowboys
We will get to see this week truly how good the Texans are. To say both of these teams have been mixed this year is an understatement. The key to stopping the Cowboys is shutting down Ezekiel Elliott. Do that and I do not see how Prescott can cause this defense too many problems. However, if the Cowboy run game gets flowing then it could be a long day for the Texans defense. That will allow Prescott to work off of play action and then their pass game has more threat.
Offensively the Texans need to try to get their run game going, That is the best way to slow down a fearsome Cowboys pass rush. Without that run game Deshaun Watson will be running for his life! The key is the passing game will be keeping the ball spread out. Keke Coutee stepped up big time last week and he is just the third weapon this offense needs. If Watson can work off his run game and get his three receivers going then I think they can outscore Dallas comfortably in this game. However, if the run game stalls then this could be a disaster for the Texans offense.
The battle for Texas is unlikely to see either team take their foot off the gas. However, I still think I would steer clear of the over/under at 45. This could be a game dominated by defensive lines with a ton of punts in it. My pick for the game is the Texans giving up three points. I am not sure I would go any higher than three points but if you can get it at three or lower, then I would look to jump on it.
Jacksonville Jaguars +2.5 @ Kansas City Chiefs – Jaguars and Over 49 points
Tennessee Titans -5 @ Buffalo Bills – Titans
Houston Texans -3 vs. Dallas Cowboys – Texans
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