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AFC South Break Down: Week 12

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(Jeanne Alexis writes for Black & Teal, which is FSB’s Jacksonville Jaguars blog. Representing the rest of the AFC South are Naptown’s FinestTitan Sized and Toro Times.)

Have you heard of that strange phenomena where people have… divisional pride? You hear college fans do it all the time. “The SEC is the best division in college football.” I think it is even more odd in college because college rivalries run deep. However, in both the NFL and in the NCAA the is a sort of pride there. I think it comes from being able to contend in a tough division, from having your team tested and tried by the best. The AFC South had that last year. They had that sort of pride. They sent three times to the playoffs and all of them put up a fight. Is that the case this year? Well, with the Titan’s first loss of the season under their belts, it is still obvious that the AFC South still has somewhat of a hold on the rest of the AFC. They will not be sending three teams to the playoffs but they may be sending two and that is more than some of the other divisions can say.

Houston Texans (4-7)

Looking back: You know, I don’t think I saw a single highlight from this game but I bet if you’re a Texan fan this is a big deal. The Texans hadn’t won a game since week eight. And that was against the Bengals. It seems like the only way the Texans can win a game is to make sure that the opposing offense turns the ball over more than Sage Rosenfels. Sage was intercepted twice. These were the only two turn overs on the part of the Texans. The Browns turned it over five times. You go, Texans defense.

Looking forward: I am sure Houston is excited about this upcoming Monday Night Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. They aren’t known for their plethora of prime time games. Unfortunately, I am not sure the rest of the nation is as excited. Two 4-7 teams fighting to not be on the bottom of the AFC South? With Jacksonville performing worse than some college teams? I am actually expecting this to be a fantastic game. One of these teams is going to come out strong and it will be interesting to see if the game of catch up works. Mario Williams is going to get personal with David Garrard and Rashean Mathis is going to make Sage Rosenfels contemplate another line of work. I honestly can’t wait.

Indianapolis Colts (7-4)

Looking back: The Colts took on the Chargers in San Diego this week. Every sports analysis worth their paycheck circled this game as an exciting match up. The Colts and Chargers always play good games against each other and this one did not disappoint in the least. There were quick drives, long throws, interceptions, Peyton Manning, LaDainian Tomlinson and a last minute field goal attempt for the win. What more could football fans ask for? Manning looks like has really returned to form and all the doubts at the beginning of the season seem silly.

Looking forward: The Colts are looking to play a bruised Cleveland Browns team this upcoming Sunday. The Texans beat the Browns with Sage Rosenfels. I am confident that the Colts can beat the Browns with Peyton Manning. The only unknown is how well the Colts’ defense will perform. There were points in the Charger game where the Chargers waltzed into the end zone. However, I just don’t think the Browns have it together enough to be able to pull out the win. With the Colts’ final games looking like a breeze, they appear like they will be making another earned trip to the playoffs with Manning at the helm.

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7)

Looking back: The Jaguars embarrassed themselves in their loss against the Vikings. That isn’t because the Vikings are a bad team but because of the fashion of how the Jaguars loss. In the first 30 seconds of the game,  the Jaguars were down by 14 points because they turned it over twice. Once on the first snap of the game and then on the special teams return. How are you supposed to come back from that? It looked like the defense may have been able to hold them but with the offense completely shut down (including two missed field goals by Josh Scobee) it was hard to expect much from them. This is the fifth loss the Jaguars have experienced at home. Does anyone else get the feeling that they are going to have a hard time finding people who will renew their season tickets?

Looking forward: The Jaguars got three prime time games this season because of their performance last year. The upcoming game against the Texans is their second one. Unfortunately for the guys who make the schedules, it was predicted that the Jaguars were actually going to be good. They are now fighting it out for third place with the Texans. This Monday night game is going to decide the third and fourth place standings in the AFC South. That isn’t exactly a coveted position. If you think that the Jaguars are going to win this game easily you’re better off not watching so you aren’t disappointed. The Texans always play the Jaguars hard and on their own turf they will be a force to behold.

Tennessee Titans (10-1)

Looking back: I’m going to put this simply: The New York Jets made the Titans look like every other team in the league. They did not look like the force that swept through the NFL and dominated every team they came across. Their defense did not, could not, stop the offensive drives of Brett Favre. What happened? Well, I’ll leave that up to Nick over at TitanSized to figure that one out. The talking heads of the sports world were talking about how it was good for the Titans to get the “when is the loss coming?” monkey off their backs. They are probably right. I wouldn’t have thought the first loss would have come against the Jets but, hey, it is the NFL and wacky is the word for the game. Titans fans, you can’t be too disappointed. Ten straight wins is quite an accomplishment.

Looking forward: Titans have no reason to worry next week. They are taking on the much maligned Detroit Lions.  Kevin over at SideLionReport make the joke that the Lions are the NFL’s hospital. Everyone goes into Detroit feeling kind of crappy about their situation but they come out of Detroit feeling like they are on top of the world. Sorry, Lions fans, but I think Albert Haynesworth is going to take his rage of losing out on you guys. Well. Maybe he will be kind. It will be on Thanksgiving, after all.