State of the AFC South Following Week 11

One more week of AFC South football is in the books. How have things changed in the division thus far?
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AFC South standings

  1. Indianapolis Colts (7-3, 1-1): One of two AFC South games that went to overtime in Week 11, the Colts beat the Packers 34-31 after regulation, helping them keep the top spot in the AFC South. They currently hold a tiebreaker over the Titans.
  2. Tennessee Titans (7-3, 2-1): Tennessee picked up a big road win in Week 11, defeating the Baltimore Ravens 30-24 in overtime. The win helped them keep pace with the Colts and in the Wild Card race.
  3. Houston Texans (3-7, 2-1): It took 11 weeks, but the Houston Texans have finally defeated a team that isn't the Jacksonville Jaguars. This time, the Texans overcame the New England Patriots in a 27-20 contest.
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9, 1-3): Not only were the Jaguars the only AFC South team to not win in Week 11, but they scored the second-fewest points of all teams last week due to their 27-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jacksonville Jaguars

What to like: In a season with few positives, the Jaguars can at least take solace in the fact that they have a running back who is a few more games away from having the best rookie season of any undrafted skill player in the modern era. James Robinson was once again a highlight for the Jaguars on Sunday, willing himself to 94 yards from scrimmage on 19 targets in what was otherwise a brutal day on offense for the Jaguars. Robinson became the quickest undrafted rookie to hit 1,000 yards from scrimmage on Sunday, setting the mark in his 10th game. He joins Clark Gaines (1976), Dominic Rhodes (2001), LeGarrette Blount (2010), and Phillip Lindsay (2018) as the only players to do this in a season.

What to dislike: Even when the rare good thing happens to this 2020 Jaguars team, it seems like trouble is not far behind. Such is the case with a trio of injuries the Jaguars are now facing on defense. Josh Allen, Daniel Thomas, and D.J. Hayden were all placed on injured reserve on Tuesday, ending the season of Hayden and potentially of Allen and Thomas too. Hayden had injured himself in his first game back from an injury that caused him to miss over a month, while Allen's knee injury is just the most recent in what has been an injury-filled season. Meanwhile, Thomas was in the middle of just his second start when he left the game with an arm injury. He had just recorded the first interception of his rookie season as well. 

Next opponent: The Jaguars will host the Cleveland Browns in Week 12.

Indianapolis Colts

What to like: The Colts just keep finding ways to win. This time it came in an overtime victory over one of the league's best teams in the Green Bay Packers, with the Colts managing to fend off a 28-point first half from the Packers. Philip Rivers once again had an efficient day and the running game finally began to show some life. The Colts have shown they can win games by leaning on either their offense, defense, or special teams in recent weeks, a testament to their balance. 

What to dislike: While the Colts were able to force four turnovers against Aaron Rodgers and the normally secure ball-handlers on Green Bay's offense, the Colts still gave up far too many big plays. Rodgers had completions of 33, 45, 25 and 23. Their typically sound defense allowed the Colts to hit explosive plays in the air when it mattered, something the Colts will have to ensure they can remedy moving forward.

Next opponent: The Colts will host the Titans in Week 12.

Houston Texans

What to like: Deshaun Watson has a legitimate claim to the spot of AFC's top quarterback behind Patrick Mahomes. Despite Houston being a relative disaster around Watson, the fourth-year quarterback has taken his game to another level this season. If the Texans were in the playoff picture, Watson would likely be getting MVP consideration. Watson recorded 9.3 yards per attempt in Week 11, his latest stellar showing in an otherwise bleak season for the Texans.

What to dislike: Is there any team in the NFL running the ball as poorly as Houston is? They recorded a meager 55 yards on 19 carries (2.9 yards per carry) on Sunday, but 36 of those yards came on six Watson rushes. That means 19 yards on the other 13 rushes, a truly awful day for any rushing attack. This has been a season-long issue with the Texans and it remains unlikely to change this year.

Next opponent: Houston will visit the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving.

Tennessee Titans

What to like: Is there any way the Ravens will be able to overcome the Titans? For the second year in a row, the Titans beat the Ravens at their own game and outmuscled, outplayed and outcoached them. The Titans are looking to make a strong push for the playoffs regardless of whether they catch up to the Colts in the AFC South, and games like Week 11 showed why. The Titans are a tough team that will hit big plays in the passing game and relies on Derrick Henry to close games. If any team is prepared to withstand the next six weeks of football, it just may be the resilient Titans. 

What to dislike: Not many teams are worse at getting to the quarterback than the Titans. Despite the Ravens missing some key members on the offensive line, the Titans were unable to record a single sack against the struggling Baltimore offense. Jadeveon Clowney is on IR, Vic Beasley was a bust of a signing, and no reinforcements are on the way. 

Next opponent: The Titans will play the Colts in Week 12.