AFC South Week 17 Preview and Predictions

By Joanne Kong

Twitter: @kongfu4u  AFC West Week 16

Week 16 was an unbelievable week, and now it feels like it was so long ago.  Or perhaps it was just me and the holidays.

But for those of you who feel the same way, here’s a quick recap of some of the unbelievable things that happened:

  • The Cleveland Browns WON a game!  Now 1-15!
  • The San Diego Chargers managed to lose to a team (Cleveland Browns) that 15 teams have beaten, including the New York Jets.
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars won.  Not as impressive as the Browns, but perhaps almost as unlikely.
  • Titans quarterback, Marcus Mariota, fractured his right fibula near his ankle, after being sacked by Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Sheldon Day.  He underwent surgery on Wednesday and need 4-5 months of recovery.
  • Oakland Raiders quarterback, Derek Carr, underwent surgery on Tuesday for a broken fibula.  He has a 6-8 week recovery timeline, but is unlikely to make it back even if the Raiders somehow manage to make the Super Bowl without him.  Tough break for the Raiders.

So what does the AFC South have in store for us in Week 17?

HOUSTON TEXANS (9-6) & TENNESSEE TITANS (8-7)

Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans

If an injury to Marcus Mariota wasn’t enough, the Tennessee Titans lost week 16.  Matt Cassel, the 34 year-old 12-year veteran, who essentially peaked in his 1-year subbing for Tom Brady, will be stepping in for Mariota this Sunday against the Houston Texans, in a relatively meaningless game.  The Texans have clinched the AFC South.  How?  Even if the Titans win week 17, a tied 9-7 record wouldn’t be enough to win the division because the Texans own the tie-breakers.  A 9-7 record also wouldn’t be enough for a wildcard berth.  Long season short, it’s the end of the line for the Tennessee Titans.

However, a win for the Titans would end the season on a positive note, perhaps giving hope and momentum for a better team in 2017.

With that said, neither team needs to risk players even if both want to play for pride.

Houston Texans

In week 17, Tom Savage will have his second start in the NFL.  In week 16, Savage lead the team to a 12-10 victory, completing 18 out of 29 passes for 176 yards, and no turnovers.  After trailing 10-6 in the 4th quarter, Savage lead the winning drive, ending in a 24-yard touchdown run by Alfred Blue.

The Texans have the first ranked defense in the league, allowing only 305.7 total yards per game, being 2nd against the pass (206.2 yards per game) and 14th against the run (99.5 yards per game).  If Savage can manage the offense and work the clock, the defense shouldn’t be a significant concern.

Tennessee Titans

Marcus Mariota will end the season 61.2 completion percentage, 3426 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, 349 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns.

Marcus Mariota

To put it in other words, Mariota had a terrific season ranked 4th in touchdowns, 7th in passing yards, 9th in yards per attempt (7.6) and 2nd in touchdown-to-interception ratio (2.89).

The Titans have already won 5 more games than 2015’s 3-13 record, when Mariota also left the season early with an injury.

Not a bad improvement.  Unfortunately, Matt Cassel is no Mariota.  But the Titans still have DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry and will likely lean heavily on them against Houston’s slightly vulnerable run defense.

What can we expect in Week 16?

The Tennessee Titans win.  (Let’s send them off right)

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (7-8) & JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-12)

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts

Week 17 will be the final game of the season for both the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Indianapolis Colts.  Like many other teams, these two division rivals are playing for pride and nothing else.

In week 16, the Jaguars had one of their best games of the season (maybe the best)…with a victory over the Tennessee Titans, winning 38-17.  There was no 4th quarter impotence for this Jaguars team in week 16.

In week 16, the Colts had a different story.  Losing to the Oakland Raiders sealed their fate, taking the Colts out of any possibility at the postseason.  The end wasn’t a total surprise.  The Colts have been struggling on defense all season, as well as suffering from a crumbling offensive line, but they’ve managed to win 7 games.  Unfortunately, that’s not enough for a place in the postseason.

But, there is some good news for all you Colts fan.

And for all of you that decided not to go to the game because the Colts have nothing to play for, maybe you should.

As for the Jacksonville Jaguars…looks like you’ll get a new coach for the 2017 season.  And if Deion Sanders has his way, it might be a former Super Bowl winning coach.

What can we expect in week 17?

Who knows?  It depends on which Jacksonville Jaguars team shows up at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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