AFC South 2017 Week 2 Preview & Predictions

By Joanne Kong

Twitter: @kongfu4u  AFC South Week 2

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (1-0) & TENNESSEE TITANS (0-1)

Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Now that week 1 is done, we have a better understanding of all 32 teams.  And the Jacksonville Jaguars are among one of the 32 teams that unexpectedly impressed after a discombobulated preseason.  Of course, some of the credit goes to the underwhelming and horrendous offense of the Houston Texans and their unusually ineffective defense.

What can we expect from the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2?

Keep Calm and Continue On:  The Jacksonville Jaguars will be looking to build on their win from week 1.  And their chances look good.  The Jaguars have won against the Tennessee Titans the last three times they met at EverBank Field.

Against the Texans, the Jaguars recorded a franchise record 10 sacks, allowed only 203 total yards and forced 4 turnovers.  The defensive numbers won’t be as good against the Titans, but the Jaguars defense has proven that they are to be respected.

No Allen Robinson:  In week 1, the Jaguars lost their most dynamic playmaker, Allen Robinson (WR), to a left knee ACL injury early in the game, which might explain why quarterback, Blake Bortles, threw for only 125 passing yards and one touchdown.  The absence of Robinson for the season should open the door for Allen Hurns and rookie running back Leonard Fournette, who had 100 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown and 24 receiving yards.  In week 1, the Titans defense allowed 109 rushing yards, so I’d expect Fournette to have an equally impressive second week.

The Titans had the 3rd worst pass defenses in 2016, so it’s not surprising that Derek Carr threw for 262 passing yards and two touchdowns.  Bortles might not be as successful without Robinson, but it will be interesting to see how this offense addresses his absence.  Allen Hurns (WR) will need to step-up and the Jaguars will likely remain ground heavy with Fournette and Chris Ivory, both of which combined for a whopping 39 carries in week 1.

Leonard Fournette – Getty Images

What can we expect from the Tennessee Titans in Week 2?

There has been some criticism of the Titans performance in the week 1 loss to the Oakland Raiders.  Losing 16-26, the Titans had one rushing touchdown by quarterback Marcus Mariota and was otherwise held to 3-field goals.  The Jaguars have worked hard to build their secondary, allowing the fewest passing yards in week 1. Mariota will have to work hard, facing the Jaguars secondary, but I’d expect him to improve on his week 1 performance.

The Titans get their run game going:  In 2016, the Titans had the fourth best run offense in the league with running back DeMarco Murray having 1,287 rushing yards and 9 rushing touchdowns.  If the Titans can re-establish the run game with Murray (who had only 44 rushing yards in week 1), a win could be in the cards.

Tennessee defense steps-up:  The Titans won’t want to start the season 0-2.  It takes a “team” (and some luck) to win games.  The Titans defense shouldn’t make the same mistakes and missed tackles made in week 1.  Expect a Titans defensive touchdown.

The Tennessee Titans win.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (0-1)

Arizona Cardinals (0-1) @ Indianapolis Colts

It’s unfortunate to say, but the Indianapolis Colts might just be the worst team in the league after week 1 without quarterback Andrew Luck.  Back-up quarterback, Scott Tolzien, played until the 4th quarter, and had 128 passing yards, no touchdowns, 2 interceptions and was sacked four times.  Need I say more?  It was a hard game to watch for Colts fans.  With an oft-injured Andrew Luck over the last two seasons, the Colts should have directed some resources toward a viable back-up quarterback (who’s name isn’t Tolzien).

What did you say?  They did?  Well, at least they did just before week 1.

Jacoby Brissett, ex-New England Patriot, relieved a struggling Tolzien in the fourth quarter to lead the Colts to their only touchdown drive of the game.  Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough with the Colts losing 9 – 46.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the stats:

  First Downs Total Plays Total Yards Time of Possession Turnovers Penalties
Indianapolis Colts 10 49 225 25:35 3 4 – 20
L.A. Rams 19 64 373 34:25 1 7 – 50

Of course, the Arizona Cardinals were equally unimpressive, losing 23-35.  However, Cardinals quarterback, Carson Palmer, did throw for 268 yards and a touchdown, though marred by 3-interceptions.  Palmer also managed to get the ball within field goal range twice, as well as get running back, Kerwynn Williams, in position for a rushing touchdown. And perhaps most importantly, corner back, Justin Bethel, added an interception for a touchdown.

So we are back to the conclusion that the Colts are probably the worst team in the league.  Sorry, Colts’ fans.

What can we expect in week 2?

1)      Andrew Luck is out.

2)      For the Cardinals, David Johnson, running back, will be out for 2-3 months.

3)      Although Tolzien and Brissett are splitting 1st team reps in practice, I expect Brissett to start for the Colts.

4)      The Colts will do better at home (but perhaps only because they can’t do worse).

5)      The Colts defense will continue to underwhelm.

6)      Corner back, Vontae Davis, is out.

With Davis out again for week 2 with a groin injury, the Colts will continue to struggle, leaving wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald with big numbers in Sunday’s game.

The Arizona Cardinals win at Lucas Oil Stadium.

HOUSTON TEXANS (0-1) – THURSDAY NIGHT

Houston Texans @ Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)

In week 2, the Houston Texans are on the road again to face the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football.

What can we expect in week 2?

1)      The Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson will get the start after concerns with his ankle were cleared.

Don’t be surprised if Deshaun Watson throws for over 200 yards and two touchdowns.

2)      Brian Cushing, linebacker for the Texans, is out.

If the Texans defense could succeed without J.J. Watt, they can succeed with Brian Cushing.

3)      The Texans defense is looking to be the Texans defense.

In week 1, the Texans defense looked disjointed against the Jacksonville Jaguars, losing 7-29.  What was surprising was that although not as good as the final score may imply (except for rookie running back Leonard Fournette, who had 100 rushing yards and 24 receiving yards), the Jaguars offense was actually better than expected.

The Texans defense was able to hold the Jaguars to two offensive touchdowns, 3-out-of-4 field goals, 280 total yards (125 passing and 155 rushing yards).  In 2016, the Texans were 2nd against the pass, allowing just 201.6 yards per game, and 12th against the run, allowing 99.7 yards per game.

Expect the Texans to get its act together this week with a defensive touchdown.

4)      The offensive frontline struggles.

The Houston offensive line was a travesty in week 1, failing to open up running lanes and unable to protect the quarterback.  The Houston quarterbacks totaled 162 yards and were sacked 10 times by the Jaguars.  It’s doubtful that the offensive line would have massively improved in a week, so it’s safe to say, the Texans offense have their work cut out for them.

5)      The Cincinnati Bengals score.

In week 1, the Bengals were the only team to get shut-out, as the lost 0-20 to the Baltimore Ravens.  Don’t expect that to happen again.  Andy Dalton is a better quarterback than the numbers he put up in week 1, and has a barrage of targets, including A.J. Green and Tyler Eiffert, at his disposal.  Unfortunately, speedy but injured rookie John Ross is unlikely to be available for the game.  Expect Green to have a touchdown in week 2.

The Houston Texans win.

One comment

Leave a Reply