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AFC South Round-Up; Texans Keep Rollin’

Texans' JJ Watt

Watt and the Texans are 4-0 as they head to New York for a Monday Nighter with the Jets.

For the first time in their 10-year history the Houston Texans are 4-0 and have now beaten two of three opponents in the AFC South following a 38-14 thumping of Tennessee. The Texans’ defense did much of the damage knocking Jake Locker out of the game with a shoulder injury and also returned two interceptions for touchdowns. Tennessee’s Chris Johnson finally broke out of his slump with 141 yards on 25 carries and the Titans’ offense actualy was on par with the Texans’ for most of the second half. Back-up QB Matt Hasselbeck was the victim on both of Houston’s pick-sixes.

QB Matt Schaub was 20 of 28 for 202 yards and two touchdowns while Arian Foster ground out 86 yards on 24 carries. What the Texans were able to prove was that they can win games where their offense isn’t exactly clicking on all cylinders. For the Titans, they move forward with Hasselbeck at quarterback for the time being and hope that Johnson is refound his past ability for the long-haul.

Cincinnati 27 at Jacksonville 10 – A very workman-like performance by the Bengals as they limited Maurice Jones-Drew to just 38 yards and sacked Jags’ QB Blaine Gabbert six times in keeping the Jaguars under 200 yards of total offense. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw for two scores and ran for another and the lawfirm, BenJarvus Green-Ellis pounded out 82 yards on 26 carries. Each team turned the ball over twice, but Cincy’s defense was far superior to that of Jacksonville in terms of preventing those turnovers from turned into touchdowns.

The Indianapolis Colts were on their bye week.

Looking ahead to Week Five

Green Bay (-7) at Indianapolis - With the Colts coming off their bye and the Packers coming off a hard-fought one-point victory over the New Orleans Saints, you’d think the Colts would be in prime position for a potential upset. If you look at some stats, that could be the case as the Packers are near the bottom of the league in rushing and the Colts are near the bottom in defending it. Perhaps something will give there. In order for the Colts to have any chance, they must protect Andrew Luck and they will start with protection but also with establishing even some form of running game. Indy can’t afford to have Clay Matthews coming around the corner every play ripping Luck’s head off. Look for Green Bay to come in and establish a little semblence of a rushing attack but I think this one is tighter than many think. I like the Pack to win, but the Colts stay within seven.

Chicago (-6) at Jacksonville – The old saying around the NFL for many years was that ‘Monday night’s winners were Sunday’s losers.’ This is something to be said for that especially in the Bears’ case as they win in Dallas and now have to travel to Jacksonville. This is actually a game where the Jaguars’ dead last offense will look to get something going against a Bears’ defense rated 12th. The big issue here is turnovers and the Bears love causing them and taking advantage as they did against the Cowboys. Jay Cutler doesn’t need to be spectacular, just not turn it over. I think Chicago does enough to cover the six and win in Jacksonville.

Chris Johnson

If Johnson runs like he did last week the Titans have a shot in Minnesota.

Tennessee (+6) at Minnesota – At 3-1 on the season, the Vikings are clearly one of the surprises of the season so far. They are getting solid play on defense and are seeing great improvement from Christian Ponder at QB. The Titans will need to get Chris Johnson going as he was in Houston last week. If the Titans can get up early and take the crowd out of the game they could have a chance for an upset. A lot of that will depend on the play of Matt Hasselbeck who cannot turn it over. I don’t see Minnesota as a team that will blow anyone out so I think Tennessee hangs around long enough for that six number to matter. I like the Titans plus six.

 Houston Texans (-9) at New York Jets – Houston is giving nine points in New York? Not a number I dreamed of seeing at the beginning of the season and as well as Houston is currently playing, this may well be the Jets’ season. Ryan gave his team two days off after their humiliating loss to San Francisco in order to get their head’s on straight and their minds clear. That’s all fine and good but will it help stop a powerful rushing attack and timely passing game? No, but I do like the Jets to stay within the nine as they return to more running and less passing in an effort to shorten the game and keep pressure of Mark Sanchez.

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