With three teams still alive in the AFC South this is really crunch time for one of the most intriguing divisions of 2018. There are not many divisions which have three teams still alive at this stage of the season. With two divisional matchups next week, Week 16 is all about getting to those matchups with a chance to achieve their goal. For the Texans it is about not just winning the division, but clinching a first round bye. For the Colts and Titans they just want to have a shot of making the playoffs this time next week.
Let’s take a look at the games.
Tennessee Titans vs. Washington Redskins
I previewed this Saturday afternoon matchup a couple of days ago and nothing has really changed. This is a really freaking important game that feels weird given what both of these teams have gone through this season!
Houston Texans @ Philadelphia Eagles
This game went from trap game for the Texans to fascinating in the space of Sunday Night Football. The way the Eagles played on the road at the Rams should have them invigorated this week. This is another game with a lot riding on it for both sides. The Texans need to win out to be assured of home field advantage and the Eagles need to win out for a shot of making the playoffs.
For the Texans the key will be getting back to the run game this week. They have been held under 100 rushing yards the last two weeks and their offence has struggled because of it. The offensive line is not good at pass blocking. Therefore, the run is required to buy time for the downfield passing offence.
The run game is the key to the game when the Eagles are on offence too. This season the Eagles are 7-1 when they rush for over 100 yards, and the game they lost was an over time loss to the Titans in Week 4. Their defence was great last week as well, restricting the Rams run game to just 82 rushing yards and forcing three turnovers.
This game could be really interesting and whoever stops the opposing run game will have a real shot. The Eagles are 1.5 point favourites but that is a hard bet. The question marks around both sides offence makes it hard to trust either side. The over/under is 46 and my feeling is that the game will end somewhere in the region of 23-20 or 27-24. Therefore, I am staying away from betting on this game.
Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Giants
I am not sure how much this game will mean to the Giants but for the Colts it mean a lot. They need another win to set up a potential do-or-die game next week. I think this should be a game where the Colts are able to move the ball at will on this Giants defence.
The Colts have had a ton of success in the passing game this season and recently have had some success running the ball too. This season the Colts are 6-1 when they have over 100 rushing yards. In the game they lost they turned the ball over four times so that is somewhat of an aberration.
Stopping Saquon Barkley will be key for the Colts. The Colts have turned the ball over in every game but one this season. The key to doing that again against the Colts is stopping the run and putting pressure on Eli Manning. The Giants offensive line is not good and if they have to throw the ball a lot in the second half then this game could get out of hand fast.
The Colts are 9.5 favourites entering this game and I think there is a good shot they manage it. However, covering this big of a spread is difficult in the NFL. If the Colts get a lead early and force the Giants to play catch up it could be a big difference in the game. However, there is also a situation where the Colts are chasing the game and Barkley exploits some overly aggressive defending at times. If that happens this could be an incredibly tough game for the Colts.
The over/under is 47 points and I am going to take the under. I cannot see the Giants going over 20 points and the Colts are 50/50 to get into the 30 point region for me. Therefore, this going to be a game I avoid bettign and just sit back and enjoy watching Luck and the Colts offence do their thing.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Miami Dolphins
I apologise if I cannot get too invested in this game but it is a game I might not see a single second of outside of whatever makes it onto the RedZone channel. The key here is that the Dolphins are 6-1 at home this season. Now they do have their usual advantage of being a team used to warm weather compared to teams who train and play in cold weather. However, this time their advantage comes in how bad the opposing offence is.
The good news for the Jaguars is that the Dolphins rank 30th against the run this season. Therefore, Leonard Fournette may be able to finish the season strong with a decent showing. However, Cody Kessler is also almost a bigger threat with his legs than his arms and therefore the Dolphins will be able to load the box and try to shut the run game down.
Expect this to be a run-heavy, low scoring affair so the under at 38.5 comes into play. However, no way am I trusting the Dolphins to cover even a 3.5 point spread this week. I think they will win, but I have little confidence it will be by more than a field goal, even against this fairly terrible Jaguars team.
Tennessee Titans -10 vs. Washington Redskins – Under 37.5 total points
Houston Texans +1.5 @ Philadelphia Eagles – No bet
Indianapolis Colts -9.5 vs. New York Giants –
Jacksonville Jaguars +3.5 @ Miami Dolphins – Under 38.5 total points
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