AFC South: Week 14 Preview and Predictions
Houston is obviously running away with this division, but the real story in the AFC South is the Indianapolis Colts. They are 8-4 and in the thick of the playoff race after a thrilling last-second touchdown against the Detroit Lions on Sunday. The Colts were six point underdogs in that game, and continue to show why they’re a smart bet week in and week out. The Jaguars and Titans, meanwhile, appear hopelessly miserable.
Tennessee Titans (+5) at Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EST
The Titans are 4-8, yet somehow feel much worse than that record. Vegas is giving them way too much credit on the road here; after Indy’s impressive late heroics against the Lions, they know firmly appear to be a team of destiny. The last play, a 14 yard strike to Donnie Avery, was one for the ages. “You always hesitate throwing the ball not in the end zone, for fear of the clock running out with a guy in bounds,” Luck said. “Took the calculated risk that Donnie could get there in the end zone, and he did.”
“I had no choice but to score,” Avery said. “It was the slowest 11 yards that I ever felt like I ran.”
Like I said above, the Colts were inexplicably underdogs in this game. They aren’t just riding a Chuckstrong hot streak; the Colts are legitimately good. They’ve got two soft games left on their schedule: this one and a game against Kansas City. They play Houston twice, but if they win the two games they should and maybe split the Houston series, they will make the playoffs with ease. Take the Colts at -5 and don’t look back.
New York Jets (-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EST
The Jaguars are 2-10. There’s not much more to say about them, other than this: Chad Henne was somehow a massive, massive upgrade from Blaine Gabbert. Not a good sign for your football team if that is the case. Even though the Jets just beat the Cardinals by one point with a final score of 7-6, I’m going to take the Jets here. After a dismal three interception performance against the Cards, Mark Sanchez was finally benched and third-string QB Greg McElroy was put in. However, in his brief starting stint, it looked like McElroy may have legitimately added a shot of potency to the Jets offense. I don’t feel great about it, but I’m taking the Jets here.
Houston Texans (+4) at New England Patriots, Monday, 8:30 p.m. EST
The Houston Texans are 11-1, and after beating the Titans last week, have clinched a playoff spot. However, they still have to keep playing in order to lock up a higher seed. “We’re very happy, I can tell you that,”Houston head coach Gary Kubiak said. “But I think they expected to get there, and they got there today. There’s a lot more to work on. We’ve got to continue to push our group.”
As potent as the Texans offense can be, it was the defense that won the day against the Titans.
“Our defense really won the game for us,” Houston quarterback Matt Schaub said. “They created all those turnovers and stops on fourth down. The game ball goes to the defense because we weren’t holding up our end on offense.”
The Patriots, meanwhile, looked vulnerable (or at least mortal) against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, winning a close (for them) one against the Fins, 23-16. This game could, of course, go either way, but I like the Pats to win a close one here. Houston has looked banged up lately, and the Patriots are darn near unstoppable at home. Take the Pats -4.