Week 11 marks what could be the end of the road for a few teams and Jacksonville is one of them. If the Colts lose, their ice will be as thin as the Jaguars. The AFCS Week 11 Game Previews will go into stats, injury reports, referee crews, and passing charts to give the reader an idea where these teams win and struggle.
This AFCS chart shows where everyone is and why the Colts need to win to help the Jags, plus the Texans need to lose. If the Jags win out, and the rest of the AFCS drop another game, we make the play offs. Yes, lots of “ifs”, but it is what it is. Win Sunday and go from there.
The turnover differential tells the story and that’s what Jacksonville must fix right now.
Titans (5-4) vs Colts (4-5) 1:00 CBS
This is a game the Colts need to win for the Jaguars because it would tie these two teams up and Titans need a division loss. Taylor is still dealing with turf toe and Conklin remains under the concussion protocol. They look pretty healthy which isn’t great for Indy.
I believe a couple of the DNP for the Indianapolis Colts were due to rest, not ability to dress out especially since their game status isn’t given a designation.
When it comes to points allowed on defense, Tennessee is #1 least. Indy is down at 20. The question will be can Andrew Luck put up more than the 16.8 points the Titans are giving up? Indy is allowing 26.6 which is very Mariota-friendly.
Titans are also first when it comes to passing TD’s allowed at only 11 and that will hurt the Colts since they pass the ball. Indianapolis has given up 15. TN has given up 4 rushing TD’s, Indy, 7.
The Colts are averaging 28.9 passing points a game, so we see the first match-up. One would think that this number could be 22 as a split between 16 and 28. Luck has a few less, but not below Tennessee’s average.
Mariota is throwing 18.7 points, Indy giving up 26.6. So, if we split that, too, that would give Mariota 22, as well (rounding the numbers).
On paper, this game is easier for Indianapolis than it is for Tennessee because it’s at home and the Titans being passing-shy, helps them. When it comes to rushing, Indy pounds out more yards, but less scores than Tennessee, but neither team is setting the world on fire with their rushing.
Plain and simple, the Titans have relied on their defense to shut down their opponents and Mariota to do just enough when it matters. With Luck having 26 passing TD’s, and Mariota 7, they’ve got their work cut out for them.
The bad news for the Colts is I don’t think Tennessee has given up a single TD to a TE and they also are stingy with yards. With that said, the Titans haven’t had to shut down three tight ends. It’s one thing to shut down one TE, maybe two on a few plays, but three?
I normally include passing charts for the last few weeks, but NexGen was not working right, so can only include the overall chart.
Overall, Indy has a better chance only because it’s tough to keep the mental stamina needed to play against a big passing offense and one with three tight ends. Mark Vrabel is a good defensive coach, can he scheme up the D to negate the tight ends? He can if he can push Luck around.
Texans (6-3) vs Redskins (6-3) 1:00 CBS
This game will have the rest of the AFCS in agreement: the Texans must lose even though they’d still be in first due to division wins.
Another team that has halved its report is the Texans, it’s not coincidence both are winning.
Washington, We NEED YOU, this report doesn’t give Jags fans a lot of hope. Although (since hope springs eternal), the skins did get several players in full; however, Friday’s are walk-throughs, so it’s not as if they’re actually doing anything.
Washington is one of those teams where you look at their record and watch them play and think, huh? It’s not as if they have a great coach, scheme, QB, defense or one thing you can hang your hat on and say, that’s why.
The skins have seven rushing TD’s to Houston’s 4 and that’s the match-up. Can Peterson carry more a load with Thompson still out?
Washington has 10 passing TD’s, Houston has 17. Neither team is lighting up the NFL with those numbers. Where DC has an advantage is turnover differential.
Both defenses are mid pack or so in giving up passing touchdowns; however, when it comes to shutting down rushing TD’s, Houston is tied for second with 3. Can Washington keep their rushing attack up against a top defense?
Washington is going to need its receivers to catch the ball, something they struggle with. When that happens, Alex Smith can’t get in any rhythm and the offense just stalls out. That’s what they’re going to have to do win: catch the ball. With Houston having two banged-up CB’s, Smith will know where to target, but they’ve got to catch the ball (repeat).
As you can see, Watson is having a good season since his first stumbles at the beginning. Not to mention, he’s healthy now. Speaking of health, he’s been sacked 30 times and that’s where Washington must pounce, go after his OL. They are ranked 13th (tie) with 25.
As beat-up as the skins’ OL is (Jacksonville sympathizes), Smith may be grateful that Houston hasn’t done a whole lot of sacks at 23 considering they have JJ Watt. Smith is a fairly athletic guy, so his agility may save them.
At this writing, the status of Coutee was still in doubt, which helps Washington. As an aside, Smith has seen Demaryius Thomas many times as a former AFCW rival, he may be able to give his DB’s some intel to shut him down. That could be a 1-2 punch that limits Watson.
Without a great run game, it could be the deciding factor.
Steelers (6-2-1) vs Jaguars (3-6) 1:00 CBS
The Steelers look so damn healthy it’s disgusting, they make me want to punch them for this report.
What a surprise, OL players with D or Q status. The, oh crap, is Dareus being Doubtful. The DL hasn’t been bringing down the house, so this is bad news. What else is bad news is this game will be full of Steeler fans. Jax season ticket owners sold a bunch of theirs to the enemy, so there will be no home field sound advantage.
Ben Roethlisberger got his old coach back and this season, he’s made huge strides. That’s bad news for Jacksonville, the guy who Todd Hayley stifled, is gone. While the Jags have been Ben’s quicksand, the defense we’ve been seeing this season will be a red carpet.
Jacksonville’s run defense has been mediocre and that may actually be the real issue. Pittsburgh has 12 rushing TD’s. 12, that’s 4x more than Jax, who ranks dead last. Which does come down to the walking dead offensive line.
If the DL (with a hurt Dareus) can’t channel some #Sacksonville, the game won’t be winnable. Period. All those interceptions Ben threw vs Jags was in large part due to him being hurried all game(s). With a run game and time to throw, there’s nothing stopping Pittsburgh unless we see the defense that showed up last week during the second half.
Even then, they weren’t that great, just lots better than previous weeks. I know, I’m a downer, but this is based on stats. Right now, there’s only one stat that Jax is better at and that’s the passing defense. Can they keep Pitt to 200 yards and only an average of 1.3 TD’s?
No center and LT #6, one wonders how Blake Bortles will make it through this game. Jag fans know that for most of the season he didn’t have his star WR, TE or RB, so the last game to judge on an almost full starting crew was vs New England. In that game, he had his LT (1/2 the time), RB and TE.
Last week, we saw two tight ends appear and make catches. James O’Shaughnessy returned from injured reserve and a guy off the street, Blake Bell also surprised fans. Can those two make up for issues to the LG, C and LT? Tough to see. What must happen is Leonard Fournette, Carlos Hyde and TJ Yeldon go out there and shove the ball down Pittsburgh’s throat.
I’m not sure if Bortles doesn’t trust his dropsy WR’s or he’s nursing another injury, but he’s check-down Charlie and avoiding the deep throw. Against the Steelers, that may not be a bad thing because they allow about what Bortles is throwing, anyway.
They’re giving up 2.1 TD’s and 6.9 yards, Blake is at 7.0 yards and 1.33 TD’s a game.
Here’s the bottom line for this match-up: the Jags offense has got to win the turnover battle and score first. The run game must appear and same for the run stop.
I don’t think there’s some special key the Steelers need to win, just play as they have been. If Roethlisberger doesn’t turn the ball over, tough to see the Jaguars finding a win. The last two match-ups, Pittsburgh won almost every good stat, from time of possession to first downs, etc, but it was the interceptions at the worst time that doomed them.
- get after Ben
- get after Ben
- don’t turn the ball over
- show you care
I’ll be there amidst a sea of terrible towels screaming my fool head off, I better damn well see the same passion from the guys in black and teal. If that mindset happens, they can pull off a win.