The only thing that changed in the AFC South standings this weekend was the win column.
All four teams were winners, although only one – the Jacksonville Jaguars – made it look easy. The Jaguars defeated the New York Jets by 14 points (29-15) while the Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans won their three contests by a combined nine points. The Colts defeated the Denver Broncos on a 51-yard field goal with 22 seconds to play while the Titans held on after a failed fake field goal gave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the ball down by four with fewer than four minutes to play.
No other division had every team win in Week 8.
The clean sweep means the Titans (4-4) remain last in the division by virtue of their head-to-head loss to Jacksonville in Week 3.
“That’s our position. Wherever we’re at, we have to continue to work,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “We’ve got it back to even. We’ve got our heads above water. We’re right at the edge of the water. We have to do everything we can to take the next step. That’s always about making corrections, understanding situations, coaching them and trying to get as healthy as we possibly can.”
A look at the current AFC South standings:
|Player||Record||vs. Division||vs. Conference|
Tennessee 27, Tampa Bay 23
Indianapolis 15, Denver 13
Houston 27, Oakland 24
Jacksonville 29, N.Y. Jets 15
This week’s games
Tennessee at Carolina (4-3)
Houston at Jacksonville
Indianapolis at Pittsburgh (2-4)
The AFC South is the only division in the NFL in which every team has at least four wins. As a result, the Titans trail the first-place Colts by one game in the win column (Indianapolis already has had its bye and has two fewer losses).
All four teams have four intra-division games remaining, which means the race likely will be determined by those head-to-head matchups. Five of the final seven weeks of the regular season will feature at least one matchup of AFC South teams.
Tennessee has yet to play Houston. Jacksonville and Indianapolis have not faced off.
The Titans also have yet to beat a team with a winning record, which they eventually must do in order to move up in the standings. Plus, they are the only team in the division with a losing conference record.
For the first time this season, though, they have won consecutive games, which has allowed them to keep pace.
“We are going to continue to build that confidence, but move on to the next week and just keep rolling,” tight end Jonnu Smith said.