The word of the day in the AFC South this week is sloppy. The entire division played sloppy football and frankly they were lucky to escape the week 1-3 as a division. However, interestingly, it continues the pattern that this division has set so far. They have gone 1-3 in odd weeks and 3-1 in even weeks! The positive is that the whole of the NFL is fairly mediocre this year. Prior to the Monday night game 3-2 is tied for the third best record in the AFC and sixth best in the entire NFL. That means that realistically all four of the AFC South teams still have playoff aspirations going forward. However, all of them are going to have to play better than they did this week if they are to make much noise this season.
Jacksonville Jaguars 14 @ Kansas City Chiefs 30
For many this was the game of the season so far, the game that could have a big impact on who has home field advantage come January. However, the game was a disappointment from fairly early on. At the end of the first quarter the Chiefs already had an 80% chance of winning the game and by half time it was over 95% (20-0). The scoreline is a little misleading as the Jaguars defense did a really good job. They allowed the Chiefs to score just two touchdowns and limited them to three field goals. That performance on the road in Arrowhead is extremely impressive. This game has just reinforced how good this Jaguars defense is. They were never going to shut the Chiefs down but they limited them to solid 23-offensive points.
The Jaguars offense on the other hand was horrendous. Facing one of the worst defenses in the NFL, Blake Bortles made them look very good. Bortles threw the ball 61-times completing just 33 and throwing four interceptions. One of those interceptions was returned for a touchdown by Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones. The stupid thing about this is the Jaguars were good on the ground. T.J. Yeldon rushed the ball 10-times for 51-yards and the fact he didn’t see more touches is a big mistake by this coaching staff.
In my preview I said the run game would be key. The Broncos dominated on the ground last week and the Jaguars seemed to have their way with the Chiefs as well. The Jaguars never got the game script right, and that put Bortles in a position to fail, which he did. Bortles will take the flack this week but this loss is on the coaching staff for me.
Tennessee Titans 12 @ Buffalo Bills 13
The Titans got in their own way early in this game and never got out of it. The defense did their job. They kept Josh Allen to 83 yards passing and allowed an average of 3.3 yards per rush. Their only mistake was when they let Allen go 14 yards for a touchdown. Even so keeping the Bills to 13 you would have expected to win the game. The Bills offense was brave and went for it three times on fourth down, converting twice. That kept their offense on the field and frustrated the Titans offense.
The Titans offense was bad, They never really recovered from Taywan Taylor’s early fumble which gave the Bills a short field and led to Allen’s touchdown. The offense never really recovered. Marcus Mariota went 14-of-26 for 129 yards and an interception. Dion Lewis rushed 12 times for 34 yards and added his own fumble at midfield. The positives are that Derrick Henry managed 56 yards on his 11 carries and Corey Davis went caught 4-of-6 for 49 yards.
The biggest moment of this game after Allen’s touchdown was Nick Williams dropping a sure touchdown from Mariota in the fourth quarter. Instead of the Titans leading the game 13-10 they had to kick a field goal to remain behind at 10-9. I genuinely think if Williams catches that the Titans win this game. Instead Succop’s next field goal with 4:49 on the clock gave them a 2-point lead. It also left enough time on the clock for Allen to lead the Bills down the field for the game winning field goal.
This game was a disaster for the Titans but the loss suffered by the Jaguars means they remain top of the division. Coming off an overtime win last week and then going on the road was always going to be tough. They will need to bounce back in a big way next week against the Baltimore Ravens.
Indianapolis Colts 24 @ New England Patriots 38
I recapped this game in full on Friday. I just wanted to add that the result this week keep the Colts in with a slim hope of making the playoffs. However, they need to get their players healthy and get to 2-4 against the Jets next week if they are to advantage of this huge slice of luck.
Houston Texans 19 vs. Dallas Cowboys 16 (OT)
I really do not want to dwell on this game too much because it was a terrible watch. However, it was exactly what we expected. The Cowboys offense could not do much against the Texans defense, settling for three field goals to go with their one touchdown. The Texans got after Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, with two sacks, seven tackles for loss and six quarterback hits. It was enough to keep this offense off-balance and limit them to 16-points.
The Texans offense spluttered and stuttered to 19-points in 68-minutes of football. Watson threw the all 44 times, completing 33 for 375 yards. However, the lack of a run game to support him meant that the Texans had to settle for just one touchdown on the day. The big positive here is that Watson was only sacked once, but he was hit another 10 times which still demonstrates there are issues here. Alfred Blue may have struggled on the ground but he was 8-for-73 in the receiving game. However, Will Fuller being limited seemed to dent this offense as they lacked a second big-play guy next to DeAndre Hopkins.
The Texans will not care how the win came. All they will care about is that they came out on top and are now one game out of first place in the AFC South. They are also one game out of a Wildcard spot and after being on the verge of elimination last week they are right back in the playoff picture now. Teams coming off overtime wins have traditionally struggled on the road the following week so thankfully the Texans are at home to the Buffalo Bills in Week 6. However, the Bills have demonstrated tat if you do not prepare properly they can be a massive trap game for teams.
This division is now set up beautifully for the rest of the season. The Titans lead at 3-2 over the 3-2 Jaguars due to their head-to-head win. The Texans are just one game behind at 2-3 and suddenly are right back in the conversation for the division. Their offensive line is still bad and that might ultimately cost them but for now they are right there. The Colts at 1-4 will be pleased they are not out of but they need to get healthy quickly if they are to remain in with any shot by mid-season. The next few weeks are going to be fascinating and based on the pattern we should expect three of these teams to win next week!
Image Credit: Associated Press