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AFC South: Week 13 Preview and Predictions

At 10-1, the Houston Texans are still obviously the class of this division. However, the upstart Indianapolis Colts aren’t far behind at 7-4, and even the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars gutted out a tough win in Week 12 over the Titans to move to 2-9 on the year. Indeed, there was improvement all around the AFC South last weekend as the Texans continue to establish themselves as one of the best if not the best team in the NFL and the Colts are everyone’s favorite wild card darlings. Let’s take a look at the upcoming Week 13 action in the AFC South and make some predictions.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+6) at Buffalo Bills, Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EST

Hey, things aren’t all bad in Jacksonville. Quarterback Chad Henne, called to fill in for Blaine Gabbert, has so far totally outplayed his injured predecessor. Henne completed 17 of 26 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns in this one, good for a ten yard per attempt average. His QB rating was a sterling 108.  “Hopefully this builds confidence for everybody throughout these next five games, builds new life,” Henne said afterward. Considering his team gets a road trip to take on the Buffalo Bills, he may be able to “build new life” for his team sooner rather than later. Buffalo is 4-7, but has lost four out of its last five games, including an ugly 20-13 loss to the Colts on Sunday.

“This one was obviously really needed,” Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said afterward. “I don’t really want to project or talk about the next however many games we have left. It’s all about `Go get back to work and try to win next week.’ It’s all we can worry about.” That’s tough talk from Fitzpatrick, but it doesn’t seem likely that they will cover the spread in this one. The Bills have the second to last run defense in the NFL, and the 18th-best pass defense. Jacksonville, as bad as they are, should be able to get something going here. Take the Jags at +6.

Indianapolis Colts (+5) at Detroit Lions, Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EST

The Colts win close games, and Detroit can’t seem to give them away fast enough. After yet another heartbreaking loss to the Texans on Thanksgiving, Detroit is left at 4-7 with little in the way of answers. The Colts, meanwhile, are 7-4, and continue to squeak through in tight spots. Still, I like Detroit at home here. They’re a better team than they have been playing, and they will be good for at least a few wins down the stretch of the season. Plus, as good as the Colts have been, they haven’t exactly been world-beaters. If Detroit jumps out to an early lead, the Colts could find it very difficult to catch up. Take the Lions at -5.

Houston Texans (-5) at Tennessee Titans, Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EST

The Texans will finally, at long last be rested in this game. After playing two nailbiting OT thrillers in five days, they should finally be able to c atch their breath before this Titans game. The Titans, for their part, may be one of the blandest and personality-free teams in the NFL; even their offense seems to have trouble figuring out what it is. I love the Texans to blow the doors off of this one, and early. Take Houston at -5.

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