While it seems like the entire NFC is up in the air, the AFC is much more stable. We know our winners. We have our losers. There aren’t too many wacky playoff chances here. The most decided division is the AFC South. The Titans have home field advantage. The Colts are the fifth seed. The Texans are secure in number three. The Jaguars have a really good draft pick to look forward to. That makes this division pretty boring to watch next week compared to all the other games. That is okay. After this season, I think I am okay with a week of boring.
Houston Texans (7-8)
Looking back: The Texans were on quite a winning streak there. Unfortunately, that streak stopped this week against the now 4-11 Oakland Raiders. Why did they sputter here? Was it because Oakland was fighting for a win during their last game at home? Did the young Raiders players want to show fans they had reason to hope in the off season? Were the Texans just unable to put up much fight on either side of the ball? I don’t know what happened but the Texans sure did make the Raiders look like a real football team, ending their hope for the first winning season in franchise history.
Looking forward: The Texans are taking on Chicago this week. Important for the Bears, not so much for the Texans. The Bears need to win this game in order to have any hope for the playoffs in the wacky NFC situation. The Texans are probably just trying not to get hurt. The advantage the Texans have is that they are hurting after their loss and it is a home game for them. Chicago at Houston: The fight for .500!
Looking back: You know who has a serious winning streak going? The Indianapolis Colts. They have won their last eight games When they came to challenge the Jacksonville Jaguars on the big stage, was anyone really shocked that they shined like the stars they are? As both a Jaguar fan and a Gator fan, I have tried to hate Peyton Manning. I really have. However, his amazing abilities on the field and his commercials on my TV give him a grudging admiration in my football shaped heart. The Colts didn’t mess up against the Jaguars. They came in and made it a great football game. That is what the Colts do.
Looking forward: The next game the Colts play is interesting. They take on the Tennessee Titans. Neither team has anything to gain or lose from this game. They are both locked into their spots. What do you do as a coach here? Do you sit your starters? Do you make them play to show that every game is the big game? This is one of the only games being played in Week 17 that has absolutely no impact on what the playoffs will look like. There is absolutely no way to predict what will happen.
Looking back: The Jaguars put up a fight against the Colts. They led by fourteen points for quite some time. They even looked like they were going to win the game. However, a last second sack near the goal line guaranteed the loss. That entire play completely sums up the Jacksonville Jaguars’ season. A sputtering offensive line who lets big guys get to Garrard too quickly. Garrard perhaps holding onto the ball too long. Maurice Jones-Drew injured on the side line. Ladies and Gentleman, that is this year’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
Looking forward: The Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Baltimore Ravens in the cold North this week. They probably won’t win. The starters that aren’t on IR should probably sit so they don’t end up on IR. The Ravens are still playing to make sure they get in the playoffs. The Jaguars are playing… because they have to, I suppose. They will play a good game but they won’t pull it out in the end. Don’t get hurt, guys.
Looking back: There has been some talk that the Titans are not as strong as people think they are because they haven’t played tough teams. Well, the Steelers are a tough team and the Titans beat them into submission pretty convincingly. The Titans forced 4 turn overs for the final 31 to 14 score. The Titans won the AFC South. The Titans won home field advantage. The AFC South may not be the most dominating division but it does have the most dominating team.
Looking forward: As mentioned above, the Titans play the Colts this week. I am sure that when people looked at the schedule many people thought that this game would have playoff implications. For the Colts. The Titans? They looked pathetic last year and there would be no way to predict that they would go on to win as many games as they have. Well, both teams are going to the playoffs and both teams are securely in the spots they have. This game outcome affects nothing. There is no predicting what will happen because of that.