AFC South Preview & Predictions: Week 7

By Joanne Kong

Twitter: @kongfu4u  AFC South

Dez Bryant might be out of the Dallas Cowboys line-up with a broken foot, but he’s found some company.

Clearly, based on the Monkey’s shocked expression, he’s been watching the AFC South.  Will he be shocked again in week 7?

Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts

New Orleans Saints (2-4) @ Indianapolis Colts (3-3)

Both quarterbacks have returned to form from shoulder injuries, and both quarterbacks are looking to bring their team a victory.  Unfortunately, both teams can’t win.

The Indianapolis Colts are coming off a loss against the New England Patriots, but Andrew Luck and the Colts looked nearly perfect… but for an unfortunate “trick play”…need I say more?

In week 6, the Saints upset the undefeated Atlanta Falcons.  No one missed tight end Jimmy Graham, currently playing for the Seattle Seahawks, with tight end Benjamin Watson filling the void Graham had left.  The Saints were back in form with Brees connecting with six receivers, completing 30 of 39 passes and throwing for 312 yards.  The Saints rolled out a competent running game at the goal line, while the defense sacked Matt Ryan five times.

Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck

Luckily for the Colts, corner back Keenan Lewis and Damian Swann will be out for Sunday’s game.  That’s good news for Andrew Luck, since he loves to go deep.  Week 6 was the first time, in a long time, that Andrew Luck has shown any confidence.  Luckily for the Colts, the Saints are one of the worst teams to defend against the run.

What does it mean? 

  • Andrew Luck will throw for a lot of yards and 3 passing TD’s.  But, he’ll get sacked by the Saints defense.  Frank Gore should get a lot of work – over a hundred yards and a TD.
  • Drew Brees will keep the game tight.  But, since the Saints run game has been dismal this year, Brees will throw…throw…and throw.  Expect Brees to be intercepted twice by the Colts defense.  I wouldn’t be surprised if one interception turned into a pick-six.
  • This will be a high scoring game (good news for fantasy players).
  • Expect tight end Benjamin Watson to score a TD.
  • Colts win.

Houston Texans

Houston Texans

Houston Texans (2-4) @ Miami Dolphins (2-3)

In week 6, both Brian Hoyer and Ryan Tannehill played an impressive game.  Whatever adjustments both teams made…worked.

Brian Hoyer

Brian Hoyer

As good as the Texans looked in week 6, the Miami Dolphins looked better.  Logic tell us if both teams play the same way, the Dolphins will win.

The Texans were held to 10 points against the Jacksonville Jaguars until the fourth quarter.  Showing that the Jaguars are facing a problem that many teams seem to be having, an inability to finish in the fourth quarter.

The Dolphins on the other hand, showed fans what they had been waiting to see.  A cohesive offense and a functional defense.  The Dolphins defense was able to hold the Titans to 10 points, scoring 6-ponts themselves, while the offense scored 2 passing TD’s and 2 rushing TD’s.

What does it mean?

  • The Texans are not the Tennessee Titans.  And, Hoyer has demonstrated the ability to lead the team and play with confidence.  As good as Hoyer was in week 6, it will be a difficult challenge facing the seemingly revitalized Miami Dolphins defense.  Arian Foster is getting better every week, so expect some improvement in the rushing game.  Whether it will be enough, is another story.  DeAndre Hopkins will be heavily covered, but that doesn’t mean Hoyer won’t throw to his favorite target.  Hopkins won’t put up the same yards as previous weeks, especially if Brent Grimes has anything to say about it.  Luckily, Hopkins isn’t the only receiver for the Texans.  Expect one pass from Hoyer in the red zone to lead to an interception.
  • The Miami Dolphins looked too good in week 6, whether the credit belongs to the Dolphins or the Titans is anyone’s guess.  The game will be close, but in the end the Dolphins should win.  I hope I’m wrong Texan fans.
  • Arian Foster has a TD.
  • Miami Dolphins defense has a fumble recovery for a TD.

Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans

Atlanta Falcons (5-1) @ Tennessee Titans (1-4)

In week 6, the New Orleans Saints showed us that the Atlanta Falcons were beatable.  But, the Falcons won’t need to worry in week 7 against the Titans.  The Titans won only 1 game this season, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Marcus Mariota is out on Sunday, and Zach Mettenberger is in.  But, it doesn’t matter who’s behind center if the offensive line can’t protect the quarterback.

Zach Mettenberger - USA Today Sports Photo

Zach Mettenberger – USA Today Sports Photo

Why won’t the Titans win?  The problems of the Titans offense/ defense are something that cannot be fixed in one week.  Although the Titans defense have a solid pass rush (15 sacks), the Titans have lowest number of tackles (283) in the season.  In the offense, with the collapse of the offensive line, Mariota has been sacked 19 times this season.  He’s taken more hits than a car crash dummy.  The problems go far beyond one player for the Titans.  Currently, the Flacons have the number one run defense in the NFL, giving up only 78.8 yards per game.  Furthermore, the Falcons have Devonta Freeman in the backfield.  Need I say more.

If the Falcons offensive line can hold the Titans defense, and give Matt Ryan time to move the ball, a win should surely follow.

What does it mean?

  • The Atlanta Falcons beat the Titans by at least 20 points.
  • The Tennessee Titans lose at home for the fourth time this season.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars

Buffalo Bills (3-3) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5)

Hopefully, the Jacksonville Jaguars will do better on the field than they did with their British accents.

The Buffalo Bills will be starting without their quarterback (Tyrod Taylor), two starting wide receivers (Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin), pro-bowl defensive tackle (Kyle Williams) and starting right tackle (Cyrus Kouandjio).  Even with a less than healthy offense, the Bills are still projected to win.  Why?  The Jaguars have lost their last two games in London.  The defense has given up fourth-quarter leads in the past three weeks.  The Jaguars are 1-5.

Why the Jaguars will win.  We’ve heard the reason why the Jaguars should loose, but what are the reasons they will win, besides my bias for the Jaguars.  Okay it’s mostly my bias for the Jaguars.  The Jaguars quarterback, Blake Bortles has improved the offense week to week.  Julius Thomas has returned into the line-up.  In week 6, he caught 7/13 receptions for 78 yards and a TD.  Although the Jaguars don’t have a running game to speak of, the options of receivers are plentiful.  And, Bortles showed in week 6 that he can rush the ball well enough to move the chains down field.  The flaccid defense will be the question mark in this international series.

Blake Bortles

Blake Bortles

Bortles will need to use the clock and rest the defense, hopefully enabling them to hold the Bills four quarters instead of three.  The Jaguars defense have 12 sacks for the season.  They will need to do more to wipe away the taste of the last five defeats.

What does it mean?

  • The Jaguars head coach, Gus Bradly, has one foot out the door.  Remember what happened to the Miami Dolphins coach, Joe Philbin, after they lost in London.  If the Jaguars lose and the coach is fired, maybe the loss is just what the Jaguars need to get back on track.  It worked for the Miami Dolphins.
  • With E.J. Manual behind center and LeSean McCoy back in the game, the Bills will heavily take advantage of the running game.  The Jaguars aren’t he best or the worst with an average of 101.7 rushing yards allowed per game.  If the defense can contain McCoy, they should leave London with their first international win.
  • Bortles will have a rushing TD.
  • The Bills intercept Bortles for a pick-6.
  • LeSean McCoy have over a 100+ rushing yards and a TD.
  • Bryan Walters will have one of 3 passing TD’s thrown by Bottles.

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