I actually did not think Week 6 could be any worse than Week 5 for the AFC South. I was badly wrong. Overall as a division they went 1-3 again, and even that win had some major elements of luck about it. The good news for neutrals is that the division is poised brilliantly, with three teams all tied at 3-3 and the Colts propping them up at 1-5. Last week there were some tough matches on the road in New England and Kansas City. This week there should have been a bounce back but now I am questioning if any of these teams is actually good at this point.
Indianapolis Colts 34 @ New York Jets 42
This is a game that looks closer on the final score board than it felt. After halftime the Jets managed to always keep the Colts at arms distance. For the Colts offense it was a mixture of good plays and comedic errors. Luck threw for 301 yards and four touchdowns and Marlon Mack rushed for 89 yards. However, both of those two combined for the most embarrassing moment of this game. Luck threw a screen to Mack which he juggled, it then bounced off the hands of a Jet defender before Morris Claiborne intercepted it and walked into the end zone. Once again missed opportunities are the story. Eric Ebron was 7-for-10 and Chester Rogers was 4-for-10. In total there were 23 receptions on 42 targets. This offense needs to get more efficient.
The Colts defense did a reasonably good job limiting the Jets offense to field goals. However, it was very much a case of bend but do not break. Jason Myers kicked seven field goals to go with his two extra points, meaning he accounted for 23 points alone in this contest. When your offense surrenders three interceptions and a fumble the defense are always in for a rough day. Given the way the Jets run game functioned last week the Colts can be extremely please with their performance against the run.
This game was a comedy of errors once again by the offense that cost the Colts. They have now lost three in a row that they could have won. The call on fourth down against the Texans goes their way then they possibly win. Then if they make less mistakes against the Patriots and Jets they possibly come away with the win. For a 1-5 team the Colts are unbelievably still in with a shot because of the mistakes of their division that you are about to read about.
Houston Texans 20 vs. Buffalo Bills 13
The division was extremely lucky not to go 0-4 this week. The Texans looked ugly on offense in this one and really needed the defense to bail them out. The defense did exactly what you could ask of them. They kept Josh Allen and Nathan Peterman under 50 yards passing. LeSean McCoy had success but he could not take this game over and credit for that needs to go to the Texans defense for containing him even if they could not stop him.
Offensively this game was a mess. The run game averaged 3.1 yards per carry and Deshaun Watson went 15-for-25 with 177 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The numbers from the Bills defense are incredible. Seven sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss and 15 quarterback hits. It is no winder Watson could not find DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller or Keke Coutee with regularity. Once again the down fall of this defense was their offensive line. The Bills crushed them and whacked Watson at every possible opportunity. It was ugly.
This team needs to thank the defense big time. Jonathan Joseph stepped up big time to pick off Nathan Peterman for the eventual game winning touchdown. This team has fought back to 3-3 and is now right back in the division. However, with this offensive line the chances that Watson manages to play the full season is decreasing rapidly. With Watson they have a shot, without him this is as close as they are getting to winning this division.
Jacksonville Jaguars 7 @ Dallas Cowboys 40
This was a trampling and I am not sure fully how to explain it. If you asked me to predict how the Cowboys would win this game I would say due to their offensive mistakes. While the offense had two turnovers this loss is on the defense, who got trampled. The Cowboys ran for 206 yards on 42 carries. They managed to gash this Jaguars defense and keep them off balance the whole game. In the passing game the defense did fine. Prescott went just 17-of-27 for 183 yards and two touchdowns. However, he did not need to do more because the run game was so good.
The offense was not good by any means but they are not the reason this game was lost. Bortles has to be better than 15-of-26 for 149 yards but that is obvious. The defense do suffer when the offense cannot move the ball and that must have happened here. The one real bright spot was the running of T.J. Yeldon who averaged 5.1 yards per carry and perhaps should have rushed the ball more than eight times.
This game is summed up in the time of possession. The Cowboys had the ball for nearly 40 minutes because they systematically moved the ball. The Jaguars offense did not do enough but their defense just never seemed able to stop the Cowboys run game. Massive kudos to the Cowboys but the Jaguars let this one slip. There is every possibility the Jaguars overlooked this game somewhat. The Chiefs game last week was so big that the Jaguars may have had a mental deflation this week and took their off the ball. The good news is they remain right there in a tie for the division. The bad news is they are looking a team in a mess right now. That offense was never going to win them games and if the defense also cannot then it could be real trouble for the Jaguars this season.
Tennessee Titans 0 vs. Baltimore Ravens 21
This was an ugly game of football to watch but honestly I did not expect much else. I wrote last week how both teams ranked extremely highly on defense with some questionable offensive numbers. In the end the team with the better offense won out in a defense dominated game. The Ravens did enough to put points on the board. Joe Flacco was 25-of-37 for 238 yards and an early touchdown. Alex Collins averaged just 2.8 yards per rush but scored two touchdowns. Gus Fletcher was the star of the show rushing wise with 42 yards rush on 10 attempts. It was not pretty but it was effective.
On the other side the Titans were anything but effective. Marcus Mariota was sacked more often (11) than he completed passes (10). He had just 117 yards passing and honestly did well under pressure to not throw an interception. An amazing stat for the Ravens defense is that every quarterback hit they registered was a sack! I am not sure how often in NFL history that has happened. The run game was also fairly inept. Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry combined for 12 rushes for 30 yards. Mariota managed another 25 on two rushes but 55 total yards is not going to cut it.
This game highlighted how major the troubles are for the Titans offense. Any time you can keep a team to 21 points you should have a shot to win a game but right now with this Titans offense that is not the case. This team could easily be 1-5 or 2-4 if Mike Vrabel had not coached a couple of extra wins out of them.
Image credit: Associated Press