Final Word: AFC South

September, 23, 2011
9/23/11
1:30
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 3:

Watch the Jaguars' defense: It did not play badly in New York, it’s just that the Jets were given so many chances by the Jacksonville offense. Cam Newton is due for a comedown, and a defense that loaded up on veterans this offseason needs to see a payoff Sunday in Carolina. Put the spotlight on Paul Posluszny, Clint Session, Matt Roth, probable new starting safety Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman. They were brought in to make this a good defense now, and if they can’t fare well against a rookie quarterback and a rebuilding team, it will be a major disappointment. The defense should play well enough to give Blaine Gabbert a chance to win his first start if he plays efficiently.

[+] EnlargeMatt Schaub
Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireThe Saints will look to bring pressure on Matt Schaub to slow down the Texans' air attack.
Blitz alert: The Texans are probably sick of hearing about how challenging the blitz packages of Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will be. But they’ll also be reviewing the possibilities and reminding themselves of their schemes for handling blitzes. Matt Schaub is better when teams sit back and play coverages rather than coming after him. Still, although New Orleans wants to blitz and has the people to do it, the Saints are only 18th against the pass through two games. Although they collected eight sacks against the Packers and Bears, they’ve allowed an opponent passer rating of 95.6. There will be room for Schaub to succeed.

Quick and short: I expect the Colts will try to combat the Steelers' high pressure 3-4 front with quick, short passes, hoping for yards after the catch. Kerry Collins can certainly connect with Joseph Addai in such circumstances. He has done OK with Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. The guy who needs to be a bigger part of things is Austin Collie, who was targeted 10 times a week ago but had only three receptions for 24 yards. To move it better, particularly in the red zone, where it was a struggle against the Browns, I think Collins-to-Collie has to become a bigger part of things.

Denver’s health: The Broncos were awfully banged up last week against Cincinnati when they managed to win without several key guys -- defensive end Elvis Dumervil, linebacker D.J. Williams, cornerback Champ Bailey, receiver Brandon Lloyd and running back Knowshon Moreno. At least some of those guys will return, and the Titans will face a better team than the one they have been watching on tape. Kyle Orton led Denver to a win at LP Field last season, so this is a trip the Broncos know they can make successful. Underrated Titans left tackle Michael Roos will be ready for Dumervil if the defensive end is back.

Making Newton uncomfortable: Newton has been very comfortable in his first two NFL games, even as Carolina has dropped both. For the Jaguars, making Newton do things he has not been doing well is a major goal. What might that entail? According to ESPN Stats & Info, Newton has been the best quarterback in the NFL throwing outside the numbers, where he has a passer rating of 109.5 and a Total QBR of 91.6. Take away receivers on the perimeter and make him look inside the numbers and you’ll find a much more average player: passer rating of 63, QBR of 39.2. The pressure is on Rashean Mathis and Derek Cox, particularly against Steve Smith, who is responsible for a good share of Newton’s numbers to the outside.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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