The AFC South continues to be basically a one-horse race. Although the Indianapolis Colts (8-4) are technically still in the running for the division crown, the Houston Texans (11-1) are looking to close out the title at any time over the next few weeks. The Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10) and the Tennessee Titans (4-8) are out of the division race, and have been mathematically eliminated from the AFC playoffs.
The Jaguars have been playing without star running back Maurice Jones-Drew since he went down early in week seven with a foot injury. The Jags will also be without quarterback Blaine Gabbert for the rest of the season, who has been placed on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury that was suffered against the Indianapolis Colts. Veteran quarterback Chad Henne stepped in for Gabbert, and helped the Jaguars take the Houston Texans to overtime in his first start of the season. Henne also led the Jaguars to their second win in week 12 against the Titans. Jacksonville will have many questions to answer after the season is over, but at least Henne has come out and fought hard. Both of Jacksonville’s wins have come against AFC South teams.
The Titans have lost all four of their games within the division. Tennessee has also had quarterback issues of their own. Jake Locker returned in week 10 from a shoulder injury, but has yet to win a game in the three weeks since. Running back Chris Johnson has rushed for over 100 yards three times in the last six games, but have only won two of those contests. The Titans play at the Colts this week, and have already lost an overtime thriller at home against Indianapolis in week eight.
The Houston Texans continue to play well, but have also had several very tight games recently. The Texans became the first team in NFL history to win two overtime games in a five-day span, defeating the Jaguars 43-37 in week 11, and then defeating the Detroit Lions 34-31 on Thanksgiving. The Texans can wrap up the AFC South win one more win or one more loss by the Colts. If Houston holds steady, they are in the driver’s seat for the number one seed in the AFC playoffs.
The Colts have been the most surprising and inspiring story in the NFL this season. Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck has already won more games in his first season than any other number one overall draft pick in NFL history. Even though Luck has thrown 16 interceptions against his 17 touchdown passes, he has also rushed for a Colts quarterback record five scores. The Colts play the Texans two times in the next four weeks, and can still win the division if the Texans slip up. The Colts are currently in the top AFC wildcard spot, and have already won six more games than they did all of last season.