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The Jags, Colts, and Texans are all 9-7
The Jags own the tiebreaker over the Colts and Texans
No AFC South team has secured a playoff spot
The AFC South features three teams currently tied at the top at 9-7. The Jags own the tiebreaker over the Colts and Texans, who will face off next week. All three teams have yet to secure a playoff spot, which makes their Week 18 matchups critical.
Below, we will share who we are betting on to win the division and provide insights into all four teams.
As tempting as the Texans bet is, the Jags have too many factors working in their favor in Week 18. First, they own tiebreakers over both the Colts and Texans. Second, they will be facing a bad Titans team. While we are concerned about Jacksonville’s struggles, we have seen how good they can be. Expect them to deliver in a big way on Sunday, securing another AFC South title.
After starting 8-3, things began to go south for the Jags. They lose four straight games, including blowouts at the hands of the Ravens and Bucs and losing Trevor Lawrence to an injury. His status is up in the air for Week 18, meaning CJ Beathard may get the start once again at quarterback. Fortunately for the Jags, they face a terrible Titans team this week. Even if Lawrence can’t go, we still think this team is good enough to get a key win on Sunday.
Speaking of Trevor Lawrence, there are questions about just how good he is. He has 19 passing touchdowns this season but also has thrown 12 interceptions. His completion percentage has also been shaky late in the season, completing under 59% of his pass attempts in his last three starts. His slump coincided with the Jags losing streak, showing his importance to the team. While he can handle a team like the Titans, we have concerns over his play in the postseason.
The Jags' defense has also been falling apart as the season comes to a close. While they were able to shut out an awful Carolina offense, they allowed 30 points to the Bucs a week before. We knew the unit had been overperforming, but the regression came at a terrible time. The good news is that Josh Allen continues to play at a high level, finishing with three sacks last week. Expect him to rattle rookie Will Levis this weekend, helping to cover for the struggling Jacksonville defense.
The Colts continue to be one of the best stories of the 2023 season. They have overcome key injuries to outperform offseason expectations and could clinch a playoff spot with a win against the Texans this week. However, the last two weeks have given us some cause for concern. The Falcons decimated the Colts two weeks ago and barely got by the Raiders last weekend. Now, they will host a very good Texans team with their playoff hopes hanging in the balance.
While the Indy offense isn’t flashy, they have been getting the job done with Gardner Minshew at quarterback. His stats aren’t great, but he has done an excellent job managing the offense. He will be set up well this weekend as he faced a young, inconsistent Texans defense. Minshew helped the Colts get a road win against them in Houston in September, and we’ll see if he can replicate that success this weekend.
The key to the Colts playoff hopes will rest firmly on the shoulders of this defense. The Indy defense has been bad all season but has a handful of impressive performances. They did not do well against CJ Stroud in their September win, allowing the rookie to throw for 384 yards and two touchdowns. The Texans have improved since then, so the Colts defense will have their hands full. Their ability to contain Stroud will determine the outcome of Sunday’s crucial matchup.
The Texans were able to keep their division and playoff hopes alive with a blowout of the Titans on New Year’s Eve. Quarterback CJ Stroud returned to the field and looked solid in their 26-3 win. As much talent as they have, the Texans' youth has cost them some key games this season that prevented them from taking the division lead. They missed a chance to capture the tiebreaker with the Jags in Week 12 and blew a chance to take the division lead with losses to the Jets and Browns in the last month. This weekend’s matchup will present one more opportunity for the Texans to get a key win, so we’ll see how the young team responds.
One big reason for the success of the Houston offense is Devin Singletary. The backup running back took over the starting job after Dameon Pierce failed to find success in the first half of the season. He has been great over the season's final weeks, averaging over 4.8 yards per carry over his last five games. His play is helping open things up for Stroud and the passing game and will help them find success against a soft Colts offense this weekend.
Defense has been Houston’s Achilles heel all season. While they have had some incredible performances, consistency has been a big issue. They were lit up by both the Browns and Jets in the last month, failing to capitalize on both struggling offenses. While the Colts' offense isn’t anything special, the Texans will need to find a way for their defense to lock in for a full 60 minutes if they want to get the win.
Aside from a stunning 28-27 win over the Dolphins in Week 14, things have been going badly for the Titans. They have lost three straight games and seven of their last ten and are now without promising rookie quarterback Will Levis. That means there isn’t much to watch with this team as they head towards a rebuild in the offseason.
While their playoff hopes are long over, the Titans will have a chance to play spoiler against the Jags this weekend. They were throttled by Jacksonville in Week 11, but the Jags have been struggling badly of late. They don’t match up well, but facing a rival with nothing to play for in Week 18 can be a recipe for an upset.
Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.More info on Michael Savio
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