Kiefer O'Boyle looks ahead to Week 8 for the AFC South and looks back on Week 7 also!
AFC South Week 7 Review and look ahead to Week 8
What a difference a few weeks can make. Only 3 weeks ago, the Tennessee Titans had just lost in O/T to the then winless NY Jets and it did genuinely look like the Titans and indeed the AFC South in general were cooked. The worst division in football, with the supposed division winners losing to one of the worst teams in football. Fast forward and the Titans have emerged as one of the hottest teams in the NFL, taking care of the biggest AFC contenders in the Bills and Chiefs in consecutive weeks. Even the Colts look like they’ve found their grove in recent weeks. Let’s look at how week 7 went down.
Tennessee Titans (5-2) 27-3 Kansas City Chiefs (3-4)
Takeaway 1: This is a statement couple of weeks for the Titans. Taking care of both the Bills and Chiefs in consecutive weeks is throwing down the gauntlet to the rest of the AFC. With the Ravens losing, the Browns struggling with injuries and nobody else making a huge claim, it looks like the power may be shifting in the AFC. Even with the slight asterisk that this Chiefs team is not in form and certainly not a defence which will give you problems- they are still aiming for the third straight Superbowl. Allowing only 3 points to a Patrick Mahomes team is nothing to snuff at.
Takeaway 2: Seems to be a regular takeaway but Derrick Henry (despite this not being a real Derrick Henry takes off week) is superhuman. I am *still* worried how much he’s being used particularly when this match was over, and he was still being wheeled out for carries. Henry is the single biggest weapon in the NFL and they need to keep him healthy. Should the Titans take care of business this week, we can probably put a bow on the AFC South, and they can start to limit his usage.
Indianapolis Colts (3-4) 30-18 San Francisco 49ers (2-4)
Takeaway 1: This was quite an unpleasant game to watch, and I imagine to play in as well. Monsoon type rains made this an ugly win but beggars can’t be choosers and ugly wins are still wins. This would have been pencilled in at the start of the season as a probable L for the Colts but this isn’t the 49ers anyone expected to see. Carson Wentz has found good and consistent form and most importantly is not giving away the ball. In addition, Jonathon Taylor is finally getting into form we all expected to see coming into the season.
Takeaway 2: Coming out of this early season at 3-4 is not ideal for the lofty standards of Colts fans and players. However, it’s by no means a disaster. 2 of the next 3 games are against the Jags and Jets. If and it’s a big if at this stage, the Colts can get a W against the Titans, they could find themselves with a winning record heading close to Thanksgiving. What a huge boost that would be to Frank Reich and his staff. Indy just aren’t in a position to look further than the next game however and should they lose to Tennessee, their best bet is a wildcard spot. Given how fragile a WC spot can be, it could be a rollercoaster ride heading down the stretch.
Houston Texans (1-6) 5-31 Arizona Cardinals (7-0)
Takeaway 1: After an amazing start going up 5-0 after a Cardinals safety, normality was restored as the Texans did everything in their power to lose by as much as possible. Extremely undisciplined and sloppy penalties meant any momentum they could have gathered stopped before it had even begun.
Takeaway 2: After a nice start to the season the Texans have shown who they really are. 3 of their last 4 games have seen them concede 40, 31 and 31 points and their offence has posted a 0, 3 and 5. Yikes. That’s an embarrassing score differential and it really says a lot about where this franchise is heading. Nowhere good.
Week 8 Preview
Tennessee Titans (5-2) @ Indianapolis Colts (3-4)
This is probably the single game which will go a long way to decide the AFC South for this season. Should the Titans win, they will go 3 wins ahead of the Colts and have the deciding record in the case of a tied record. With the form that Tennessee is in, going 3 games ahead would be probably insurmountable barring a massive injury crisis or massive dip in form. As for the Colts, a win would propel them back into division contention and after weathering the early season storm it would give them a great morale boost. As for a prediction, who would bet against Derrick Henry and the Titans making it 4 on the bounce?
Prediction: Titans 34-24
LA Rams (6-1) @ Houston Texans (1-6)
A second NFC West team in a row for the Texans- not who Coach David Culley would want to see rolling up to NRG Stadium. Houston deservedly starts as double-digit underdogs and depending on what happens on Thursday Night Football, the Rams could have a chance to make up a game on the Cardinals.
Prediction: Rams 40-10
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) @ Seattle Seahawks (2-5)
Coming off their first victory in London and their bye week, spirits should be high in Jacksonville. What we shouldn’t forget is how bad the Jaguars have been this season and how much Miami did to deliver the Jags their first win. Seattle look done without Russell Wilson and at 2-5, falling behind another game in the hunt for a wildcard spot will mean the end of their season. It’s a must win for them and even with Geno Smith, Seattle should take care of business.
Prediction: Seattle 20-7