Audibles: AFC South Week 15 preview
The Titans beat the Texans at LP Field in Week 3, 31-12. Andre Johnson had a bad day with two key drops and he failed to take an aggressive route to a catchable touchdown pass. If he makes those plays, the Texans would have been in that game.
A matchup to concentrate on will be Tennessee cornerback Cortland Finnegan against Johnson. In a preseason column I wrote on Finnegan's breakout potential, Johnson said the corner is "a little irritating."
Houston is a much different, more confident team now, with an offense in rhythm and a defense that has decided to play more aggressively even if it means taking some additional risks.
Turnovers have been an issue all season for the Texans. They won last week in Green Bay despite four giveaways. I do not expect them to beat the Titans if they hand the ball over. But if they are able to minimize mistakes, the Texans could threaten the team atop their division.
If the Titans win and Pittsburgh loses in Baltimore, Tennessee will sew up the AFC's No. 1 seed and be in position to potentially host two playoff games.
Tennessee's dominance of Houston ranks among the tightest strangleholds in the league.
I've been asked if this could be a trap game for the Colts. I'm not a trap-game guy, but even if this was one I believe it would mean Indianapolis would win 27-10 instead of 40-6.
I expect Peyton Manning and the offense to be efficient and eliminate any hope the Lions have of a major upset by early in the second quarter. Detroit has actually had the lead in eight of its games. If it gets one here it will be small and short-lived.
Priority one defensively is slowing receiver Calvin Johnson, who has a touchdown in seven of his last nine games.
The Colts have won six games in a row and now rank with the 49ers of 1989-95 as the only teams to win at least six in a row in five consecutive seasons. That's a lot of numbers, I know, but take a second to wrap your head around another ridiculous example of the Colts' sustained success.
Jacksonville is 1-5 this season at home, but sold enough tickets
to avoid a blackout. However they are getting that done, it's impressive.
Green Bay doesn't rush the passer particularly well, which could be good news for David Garrard or it could change against the Jaguars. Garrard has been sacked three or more times in four consecutive games. Watch Green Bay defensive end Aaron Kampman against Jaguars right tackle Tony Pashos.
Jacksonville will get a look at some players who haven't ranked at the top of the depth chart, as receiver Matt Jones (suspended), running back Fred Taylor (injured reserve) and fullback Greg Jones (IR) are now gone from a team that was already having all sorts of production and chemistry problems.
The Jaguars have lost six of their last seven, including four in a row, their longest single-season losing streak since they lost the first four games of the 2003 season. They haven't lost five in a row since 2001.
Even with all that's working against it, Jacksonville has cause for hope that it can win a close one: Of the Packers' eight losses this season, half are by three points or fewer.
Green Bay is playing poorly, too, having lost three in a row and five of the last six.
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