All of a sudden, there are no guarantees in the AFC South. ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting via Twitter that Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is out for the season with a lis franc injury. This is an epic blow to the Texans’ playoff chances, who have been running away with the division in the absence of Peyton Manning’s perennial regular season dominance with the Colts. After already losing Mario Williams early in the season and star wideout Andre Johnson missing significant, this is most likely the death knell for the Texans, who likely would have found a way to lose the division anyways. Matt Leinart will take over in Houston in Shaub’s absence, which to say the least, scares no one. So what does the AFC South playoff picture look like now?At 6-3, there’s still a chance that the Texans’ dominant running game and revamped defense could carry them to 10 wins, which would likely be enough to seal the division. The Colts are obviously done-zo and the Titans are hanging in there with a 5-4 record and may be benefiting in the second half from Chris Johnson, who had a touchdown and over 120 yards this week, finally deciding to show up for the 2011 season. That leaves the Jaguars, who are not necessarily out of it at 3-6. An uphill climb for sure, but the defense has never been stronger and the running game is still extremely productive, despite opponents loading the box to stop the Jacksonville offense’s only legitimate threat, Maurice Jones-Drew. Will the Jaguars smell blood in the water and play an inspired second half? Could the magic of 1996’s Cinderella season possibly be recaptured? Can Blaine start making more of the throws and will his receivers hold on to the ball and make some plays?
The last seven weeks of the season just got a lot more interesting.
– Andrew Hofheimer