AFC South Week 12 Preview and Predictions

By Joanne Kong

Twitter: @kongfu4u 

HOUSTON TEXANS (6-4)

san-diego-chargersHouston Texans

San Diego Chargers @ Houston Texans

The San Diego Chargers are coming off a bye-week after a loss to the Miami Dolphins in week 10, while the Houston Texans are coming off a loss in Mexico City to the AFC West division leader, the Oakland Raiders.

The Texans remain at the top of the AFC South with the Tennessee Titans loss to the Indianapolis Colts in week 11.  A win in week 12 will be vital for the Texans to remain at the top of the division.

The Chargers are in last place in the AFC West, with a 4-6 record and 4-games behind the division leader, the Oakland Raiders, but Chargers quarterback, Philip Rivers, is optimistic that his team can reach the postseason.

Philip Rivers

Philip Rivers

With six games remaining in the regular season, the Chargers would have to win all of them while fellow division teams lose.  But, it starts with week 12.

With the Texans looking to hold onto first place in the AFC South, and the Chargers looking to reach the postseason, both teams will be working hard to win this Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  And the way they need to do it isn’t very different.

The Houston Texans defense vs. the San Diego Chargers offense.

The Texans defense have two goals on Sunday:

  • Stop Chargers running back, Melvin Gordon.

The Texans defense are 21st in the league against the run, allowing 111.6 yards per game, and 10 rushing touchdowns.  But, in week 11, the Texans defense held the Oakland Raiders to just 30 rush yards with no touchdowns.  Gordon has the 4th most rushing yards in the league (838) and 9 touchdowns for the season.

  • Put Pressure on Philip Rivers.

The Texans defense are 3rd in the league against the pass, allowing 206.6 yards per game, but will be put to the test for another week as they defend against a quarterback with the 4th most passing yards in the league (2,886) and 20 touchdowns.  They’ve had 19 sacks, 5 interceptions and 7 forced fumbles, all among the bottom of the league.  Rivers has 11-interceptions and has been sacked 25-times.  The Chargers greatest challenge against the Texans defense will be in the red zone.  The Chargers have reached the red zone 46-times this season, but have only scored 23 touchdowns.

The San Diego Charger defense vs. the Houston Texans offense.

The Chargers enter week 12 on the road, and their attitude will set the tone of the game, as they try to defeat a team that’s 5-0 at home this season:

  • Limit Texans running back, Lamar Miller.

Miller has the 5th most rushing yards in the league (824) but only 3-touchdowns for the season.  The Chargers defense are 5th in the league against the run, allowing 87.4 yards per game, but have allowed 14 rushing touchdowns this season.

  • Box-out Texan receivers.

Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler hasn’t been the solution the Texans needed.  Although at the top of the division, the AFC South is still up for grabs with the Colts and Titans nipping at their heels.  Unfortunately for the Texans, they just can’t win games against teams that are likely to be in the postseason.  And although it’s unlikely the Chargers will be in the postseason, the Chargers are probably the best “last place team” in any division.

Deandre Hopkins

Deandre Hopkins

The key to stopping the Texans offense isn’t just increasing pressure on Osweiler, but stopping the receivers from making plays after the catch.  The Chargers defense are 27th in the league against the pass, allowing 274.5 yards per game.  Osweiler has thrown 10-interceptions and has been sacked 19-times.  One of last season’s top receivers, DeAndre Hopkins, hasn’t been able to find much rhythm with Osweiler, catching only 50-out-of-95 targets for 540 total yards and 3 touchdowns.  But luckily, Osweiler has other receivers on the team that can make plays.  Tight end, C.J. Fiedorowicz, has caught 35-out-of-53 targets for 387 yards and 3 touchdowns.  And, rookie wide receiver, Will Fuller, has caught 26 out of 55 targets for 389 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Even though the Texans lost in week 11 against the Oakland Raiders, Osweiler is coming off one of his best games this season.  Unfortunately, Osweiler has been unpredictable week-to-week.

What can we expect in Week 12?

  • C.J. Fiedorowicz gets a touchdown.
  • Dontrelle Inman gets a touchdown.

The San Diego Chargers win.

TENNESSEE TITANS (5-6)

Tennessee TitansChicago Bears

Tennessee Titans @ Chicago Bears

The Tennessee Titans had a disappointing loss to the division rival Colts in week 11.  In week 12, the Titans go on the road to Chicago to face the Bears.  The Bears are 2-8 for the season and for good reason.  They’ve had a hard time with injury and haven’t been able to adjust.  Bears quarterback, Jay Cutler (shoulder), is doubtful to play.  And since backup Brian Hoyer is already on IR, it’s now time for third string back-up quarterback Matt Barkley to start.

Barkley has appeared in one game this season, a week 7 loss to the Green Bay Packers after Hoyer was injured, completing 6-out-of-15 passes for 81 yards, 2-interceptions and a 18.3 passer rating.  Good luck Barkley, you’re certainly going to need it against the Titans defense.

The Bears will be looking at a lot of trouble this Sunday against the Titans, as they will be missing key players all over the field, and may not even get veteran WR Eddie Royal back this week, as he’s on the doubtful side of a “questionable” tag from his toe injury.

The Titans have been a breakout team this season in the AFC South, fighting for first place in the division.  Titans quarterback, Marcus Mariota, has been on fire and is looking to burn down Chicago.  In the last seven games, Mariota has thrown for 1847 yards, 19-touchdowns and 3-interceptions with a passer rating of 116.8, also adding 2 rushing touchdowns.

Marcus Mariota - USA TODAY Sports Photo

Marcus Mariota – USA TODAY Sports Photo

Mariota isn’t the only player that has improved this Titans team.  Running back, DeMarco Murray, has ignited this offense with 1000 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns for the season.  The last time Murray broke over a 1000 rushing yards in a season he was with the Dallas Cowboys.

The Tennessee defense also has developed some notoriety.  The defense has totaled 30 sacks, among the most in the league, and 9 interceptions. The defense is 7th defending the run, allowing just 92.1 yards per game, but are 24th defending the pass, allowing 266.2 yards per game.

What can we expect in Week 12?

The Tennessee Titans win.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (2-8)

Jacksonville JaguarsBuffalo_Bills_logo

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Buffalo Bills

It’s déjà vu.  The Jacksonville Jaguars lost the previous week.  The only difference is the increased number of total losses.

Can the Jaguars win against the Buffalo Bills (5-5)?

Certainly.  Anything is possible.

  • The Bills have lost 3 of their last 4 games, winning week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
  • The Jaguars are on a five-game losing streak.

The Jaguars mindset will be a priority for winning week 12.  The Jaguars will need to find some motivation to win, after weeks of disappointment.

  • The Jaguars need to protect the ball.
Blake Bortles

Blake Bortles

Bortles has had 16 turnovers this season, and an interception returned for a touchdown in the last two games.  Need I say more?

  • The Jaguars defense needs to stop the Bills run game.

The Jaguars defense are 22nd defending the run, allowing 113 yards per game.  Although the Bills have scored the least passing touchdowns in the league (10), averaging just 198 receiving yards per game, they lead the league in rush yards.  The Bills running back, LeSean McCoy, has had 716 rushing yards and 7-touchdowns this season.

This includes the Bills quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, is a contributor to the Bills rushing statistics with 401 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns.

  • The Jaguars offensive line needs to step-up.

The Bills are 20th defending the run, allowing 107.3 yards per game and 11th defending the pass, allowing 238.7 yards per game.  But, the Bills totaled 31 sacks (the most in the league and tied with the Seattle Seahawks), 8 interceptions and 12-forced fumbles.

  • The Jaguars need to learn to run.

This can’t be accomplished easily…and by easily, I mean 11 weeks into the season.  The Jaguars run game is among the worst in the league, having only 3 rushing touchdowns all season.

  • The Jaguars defense needs to play better.

It’s so obvious, yet it’s a very difficult feat.  The Jaguars defense has only totaled 19 sacks, 3-interceptions, 8-forced fumbles this season.

What can we expect in Week 12?

  • Marqise Lee has a touchdown.
  • Tyrod Taylor has a touchdown.
  • The Buffalo Bills defense has a touchdown.

The Buffalo Bills win.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (5-5)

Pittsburgh SteelersIndianapolis Colts

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Indianapolis Colts

See the Thanksgiving Preview.

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