AFC South 2017 Week 7 Preview & Predictions

By Joanne Kong

Twitter: @kongfu4u  AFC South Week 7

TENNESSEE TITANS (3-3)

Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns (0-6)

In week 6, the Tennessee Titans devastated the Indianapolis Colts 36-22.

In week 6, on the other side of the spectrum, the Cleveland Browns remained without a win this season, losing to the Houston Texans, 17-33.

Can the Browns win their first game of the season?

What can we expect in week 7?

  • Rookie DeShone Kizer to start.

After being benched in week 6 against the Houston Texans, Kizer will once again start for the Browns.  Kizer has yet to show progression as a professional quarterback, and it’s unlikely he’ll have improved in week 7.  This season, Kizer has 851 passing yards, a 50.9% completion percentage, 3 passing touchdowns, 2 rushing touchdowns and 9 interceptions.  Even if the defense can keep up with the Titans, the Browns subpar pass offense will be an issue.

According to Football Outsiders, the Browns offense is ranked 31st overall, with an pass rank of 32th and the run ranked 9th.

With the Titans defense ranked 17th against the run, allowing an average of 105.8 rushing yards per game, the Browns will need to rely on the ground game if they want a win.

Expect the Titans to get a defensive touchdown.

  • Is Titans wide receiver, Eric Decker, relevant again?

If Titans tight end Delanie Walker is out, Decker will probably see more targets.  This could be another good game for Decker following week 6 where he caught 7 of 9 targets for 88 yards.

According to Football Outsider, the Browns defense is ranked 32nd against the pass, allowing an average of 226.3 yards per game and 14 receiving touchdowns this season.

  • DeMarco Murry Questionable

With DeMarco Murry a game time decision, Derrick Henry may need to shoulder the load in the backfield if Murray is out.  In week 6, Henry had his best game of the season with 131 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.  Sure, more than half of that was on one clock-killing run at the end of the game, but Henry has proven that he can get the job done and keep the ground game solid.  Unfortunately, it might not be so easy against this Browns defense.  According to Football Outsiders, the Browns defense is ranked 3rd against the run, allowing an average of 84.3 yards per game and 4 rushing touchdowns all season.  Henry will have his work cut out for him on Sunday.

  • Marcus Mariota.

With Mariota practiced in full this week, he’ll look to take advantage of the Browns weak pass defense.  The Browns defense has allowed 14 passing touchdowns to only 4 interceptions, but have managed 13 sacks this season.  The Browns won’t take the Titans lightly as they look for their first win of the season, but with Mariota having his best game of the season in week 6 against the Colts, he’ll look to do the same against the Browns.  Mariota has totaled 1098 passing yards, a 62.7 completion percentage, 4 passing touchdowns, 3 rushing touchdowns and 4 interceptions.

Expect Marcus Mariota to have a rushing touchdown.

  • The Finale.

Let’s not sugar coat this…

The Tennessee Titans win. 

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-3) & INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (2-3)

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts

No one is more surprised that the Jaguars are tied for first of the AFC South than the Jaguars themselves.

In week 6, the Jaguars lost at home to the Los Angeles Rams, 17-27.

In week 6, the Indianapolis Colts lost to the Tennessee Titans, 22-36.

The Jaguars want a win.  The Colts need a win.  Which one of these AFC South division rivals will win?

What can we expect in week 7?

  • The Jacksonville Jaguars advantage.

With an away record of 2-1 thus far, the Jaguars are favored for the first time this season against the Colts.

Tied for first in the AFC South with Texans and the Titans, the Jaguars will need the win to remain competitive.

Although Blake Bortles still looks to be struggling, he’s managed to get 241 passing yards and a passing touchdown in week 6 against the Rams.  Fortunately, the Jaguars have found success in their run game with rookie Leonard Fournette, totaling 130 rushing yards in week 6.  Fournette has had three games this season with over a hundred rushing yards and continues to carry the offensive load for this team.

Of course without Fournette, the Colts might see some light break from the clouds.

According to Football Outsiders, the Jaguars are ranked first overall in defensive efficiency, ranked 1st against the pass and 31st against the run game.  In week 6, the loss is particularly deceptive because 14 points of the 27 of the Rams win came from special teams.

The Jaguars secondary is hard to beat and Colts Jacoby Brissett is probably looking at an interception or two.

Expect a Jaguars defensive touchdown.

  • Can the Indianapolis Colts win?

The Colts are only one game behind the division leaders, which means they are not out of the post-season as of yet.

But with their only wins against the 0-6 Cleveland Browns and 0-6 San Francisco 49ers, the Colts need a win against an AFC South team to stay relevant this season after losing to the Titans in week 6.

With Andrew Luck’s return without a timeline, Brissett will need to continue calling shots behind center.  This season, Brissett has a 59.8 completion percentage, has thrown for 1209 passing yards and only 3 passing touchdowns, but 3 rushing touchdowns.  Brissett hasn’t been putting up huge numbers, but he’s done well managing games and made some impressive downfield throws when necessary.

The Colts defense might have one less obstacle if Fournette sits out on Sunday game.  Of course, even if he does, Chris Ivory is no pushover in the backfield.

The Colts defense is ranked 29th overall, ranked 27th against the pass and 20th against the run.  In week 6, the Colts defense fell apart, struggling to defend against the Titans and giving up 473 total yards.

Without Fournette, the Jaguars will need to rely on their quarterback.  Bortles has his moments, and if week 7 is anything like week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens, the Colts will have their hands full.  With the Colts defense weakest against running back receptions, ranked 31st, Ivory could be an invaluable weapon catching the ball regardless of whether Fournette is out.

In the end, the Jaguars defense will be too much for the Colts to handle through four quarters of football.

The Jacksonville Jaguars win.

HOUSTON TEXANS (3-3)

BYE WEEK

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