A month ago the Tennessee Titans looked like a lock to be in the playoffs and their Week 17 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars would have AFC South title implications. But the Titans didn’t hold up their end of the deal and they limp into the final regular season contest on a three-game losing streak. Not all is lost in Nashville, though. The mediocre middle of the pack in the conference has allowed the Titans to remain relevant and they can sneak into the postseason for the first time since 2008 if they can beat the Jags.
Tennessee can also back into the playoffs with a loss. That would require both the Chargers and Bills to lose on Sunday. But the Titans would like to do it on their own and put that slide that cost them a chance at the division title to rest. The Titans crushed the Jags 37-16 when the clubs met in Week 2 and that fact hasn’t been lost on Doug Marrone. Even though the Jags are locked in at No. 3 in the conference, the coach said his regulars will play on Sunday. But don’t expect too much creativity from the offense.
The teams are familiar with each other and there is a possibility they can meet in the Wild Card round. And the Titans will remember what happened last Christmas Eve in their meeting with the Jags. With a playoff spot and division title hanging in the balance, the Titans were whacked by the last-place Jags, who not only won the game by 21 points, they also ended Marcus Mariota’s season with a broken leg.
The Colts and Texans have been playing out the string for some time, but there is still third-place on the line. It really doesn’t mean much when there are just four teams in the division, but for clubs that have combined for just seven wins, a tiny victory is helpful. The common denominator in the game is quarterback play and these teams haven’t been very good. It didn’t help the Texans when Deshaun Watson went down midway through the year and the Colts haven’t had Andrew Luck all season.
Jacksonville Jaguars (Clinched)
1. Jacksonville Jaguars ( 10-5 SU, 9-6 ATS, 8-7 O/U )
2. Tennessee Titans ( 8-7 SU, 7-7-1 ATS, 9-6 O/U )
3. Houston Texans ( 4-11 SU, 7-8 ATS, 7-8 O/U )
4. Indianapolis Colts ( 3-12 SU, 7-8 ATS, 6-9 O/U )
Texans at Colts ( -4, 39.5 ), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Jaguars at Titans ( -3, 42 ), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET – CBS
It’s no secret what has held the Indianapolis Colts back the last two seasons. A poor salary cap situation led to the Colts needing to trim their roster, so they rolled their dice with a young, inexperienced offensive line and paid dearly. Andrew Luck only lasted half of 2015 as a result of a shoddy offensive line and he was sacked 41 times last year behind one of the worst pass protection units in the NFL. For Indianapolis to get back to the playoffs, the offensive line has to find some consistency. Continue
The Houston Texans have officially hitched their wagon to Deshaun Watson. Rick Smith and the front office effectively surrendered two first round picks and a second round pick for the right to take Watson at No. 11 overall in this year's NFL Draft. It's inevitable he'll end up under center at some point over the course of this season. He's got the team around him to succeed for sure, but Texans fans and bettors alike will have to be careful to put too much stock in what Watson may or may not be able to bring to the table. Continue
The Jacksonville Jaguars are trying to follow the blueprint that the Dallas Cowboys laid out last year. However, the Jaguars don’t have anywhere near the Cowboys had heading into 2016. The franchise is excited about Leonard Fournette though and the hope is that he can help this offense by opening things up in the passing game as well. If the passing game can’t get going this season, it will likely be curtains for the Blake Bortles era. Continue
The Tennessee Titans appear to have struck gold in selecting Marcus Mariota with the No. 2 pick back in 2015. Mariota took a massive step forward in his second season and looked like one of the best quarterbacks in the AFC for much of the season. His season ended in Week 16 with a fractured fibula, but he returned to the field for minicamp workouts in May and seems fine. Provided he is healthy, this team is a legitimate playoff contender in 2017. Continue
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