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Final Word: AFC South

11/11/2011

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 10

Scoring defense: The Colts have allowed at least 23 points in all nine of their games this season. If they give up 23 to the Jaguars, they will become the third team in the last 30 seasons to allow at least 23 points in their first 10 games of a season -- joining the 2010 Texans (10) and 1981 Baltimore Colts (15). The Jaguars are probably a prime candidate not to get to 23. Jacksonville is averaging just more than 12 points a game.

Determined to run: The Texans' run game is their foundation this season. They lead the NFL in attempts per game at 34.8 and are second in rushing yards per game at 155.1. Arian Foster has not only been a dominant force in the backfield, he’s picked up the slack as a receiver in the absence of Andre Johnson with a league-best 285 yards after the catch since Week 5. Matt Schaub’s not been putting up big numbers, which is just fine, because the offense is doing so well with him handing off more than dropping back.

Contain Cam: The Titans just lost to rookie quarterback Andy Dalton and the Bengals. Now they see a different style of rookie quarterback in Cam Newton. He’s big and strong and can run effectively, but he’s done a nice job of being a throw-first quarterback. The Titans have not blitzed a lot, and the tendency against young quarterbacks is to try to confuse them with coverage. With a young quarterback who’s hard to bring down, that may be even more the case. But the Titans would be wise to throw some new blitzes into the mix. An interesting contrast -- Newton has the most completions in the league (24) on throws of more than 20 yards in the air this season while the Titans defense has allowed the fewest such completions (five).

Between the tackles: Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew has the most rushing yards in the league running between the tackles. His 457 yards give him a giant lead over Adrian Peterson (335). MJD has eight rushing touchdowns in 10 career games against the Colts. Indianapolis rookie defensive tackle Drake Nevis could be ready to return from a back injury, and the Colts should get a boost from him if he’s on the field.

Tampa Bay’s play-action: The Texans have intercepted the most passes (five) and allowed the fewest yards per attempt (5.0) on play-action passes this season. That tells me guys have been disciplined about not biting on fakes. Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman has thrown the most interceptions (five) on play fakes this season. So this could be a nice match for Houston in that department. The pass rush could be limited, though, because the Buccaneers have protected Freeman rather well.