When games are on Saturdays, you know the season is winding down. Why do these AFCS Week 15 Game Previews when the Jaguars are out of the play off hunt? Because it’s football. Secondly, we will face our divisional opponents next season and most likely many of the same players and/or teams. Why not keep track of their stats, passing charts, injury reports and referee crews?
SATURDAY 4:30 NFL Network
Texans (9-4) vs Jets (4-9)
This should be an easy win for the Texans, but as they say, on any given Sunday…
Referee Crew: The Texans look healthy with only three “questionables” which also gives them an edge. Don’t trust Bill O’Brian though, I swear he adds guys with a hang nail just to make other teams think they’re messed up and don’t need to play as hard. For the Jets, their secondary is the uh-oh.
Before we get to stats, let’s take a look at Misters Watson and Darnold. Last week, several were sure Sam was a bust, but then he found a groove and they flipped like a politician. Since Darnold didn’t play a few games, only showing last week and the overall chart. Obviously, the 21 year old rookie is far behind Watson. Neither one is tearing anyone up, though.
These passing charts tell a story and that’s both teams need a run game and a defense to win and that Watson has become comfortable with the middle of the field. Which may be the key to beating him: force him to throw to the left sidelines.
Houston is 5th in allowing points – a paltry 19.9 per game. Unless your QB is Blake Bortles or someone close, allowing so little should be enough to win every game. Of the top ten teams against points, only Jacksonville and Denver have losing records and both have crappy QB’s.
The Jets defense is down at 22nd and have a rookie QB, so that explains all you need to know about which team should win this game and do so handily. The area both teams are equal in is stopping passing TDs and sacks.
Watson may not throw a whole bunch, but he helps the run game and that’s crucial. He tends to make critical strikes at the right moments that put his team in the best spot to win. The Jets passing game is like a ghost, only Arizona and Buffalo are worse (fellow rookies).
In short, because why drag out the conclusion, NY can’t run the ball well without Crowell, can’t pass well and their defense tries to do the best they can, but they’re on the field so much. The Jets’ weapon they used to beat Denver is on IR, they beat the Colts with FG’s and the Bills stink.
SUNDAY 1:00 GAMES
Titans (7-6) vs Giants (5-8)
This should be a good game, who would have thought that a month ago? The NFL is crazy this year.
On Friday, Marcus Mariota was added to the injury report, a place he seems to live on. Will it matter? Probably not unless they need to rely on a passing game. With an ab injury, it means he’ll need to muscle throws in. He doesn’t have the strongest arm, so my guess is, any tight window throws beyond five yards will be an issue.
For the Giants, who are so healthy it should be a crime, Odell Beckham is the concern. However, Sterling Shepard has shown he’s a weapon, too.
When it comes to passing, Manning is throwing some slow flying ducks, but they’ve found ways around it, one of which is using Saquon Barkley. Pat Shumur is showing why he was chosen to be a head coach as the team is starting to click.
For some reason, there isn’t a cumulative chart for Mariota, but I looked it up. He’s 11/8, 2,330 yards, 69.1% completion, with a rating of 93.4. Fairly close to Manning which kind of makes sense in that his arm strength is off from injuries, so they have to use him differently, too.
The Giants are 16th in scoring points, the Titans 27th. Tennessee would have the same rushing TD’s as NY if not for the Jaguars showing they forgot how to stop the run and allowed Derrick Henry to do what he wanted.
Could he do it again vs the Giants? Sure because they’re not very good stopping the run, they’re down in the 20’s for rushing yards and TD’s. Tennessee is 5th for not allowing TD’s. Tennessee is also far superior against the pass, for yards, but for points? Only one TD separates them.
The key to the game is the run for the Titans. Whether it’s a tailback or Mariota, they’re going to need to run the ball for several reasons:
limit the hits Mariota takes
NY is good against the pass
they need to keep the better offense off the field, running burns more clock
NYG is poor vs the run
For NYG to win they need to force Mariota to throw and contain him the pocket. When Mariota throws, take away the short hops and ones to the middle. For Manning, keep the pass count under 30. Overall, the more he throws, the less efficient he is. Play action will work since Barkley is a threat.
My money is on the home team because as good as the Titans defense is, their offense will need to put up some points.
Redskins (6-7) vs Jaguars (4-9) CBS
Two things have hurt the Jaguars more than anything this season: injuries and referees. They’re playing a team as beat up as them which should eliminate that issue as a factor, but the reffing may decide (again) who wins. They’re why I started adding ref crews to these scouting reports.
The Redskins make me feel sorry them and that’s a big thing considering how beat up our team is. If the Jags don’t win, it’s one of three things: bad coaching, coaches are bad, the coaches’ game plan.
It’s a shocker, but the OL will be missing two. I hope Kessler has been doing wind sprints because I believe the OL is down to the bag boys from Publix.
I’m not posting passing charts for these quarterbacks because they look like what a Pop Warner Midget game would show, plus they have 2 games, combined. Based on what we don’t know about Cody Kessler and Josh Johnson, let’s look at rushing and defenses.
It’s tough to imagine either team will try to put the game in their QB’s hands, but one should. In case you didn’t know, the Jags’ run game has been poor. Between an OL that spends more time at the ER than the games and Fournette who was out for weeks, they’re ranked in a tie for dead last for TD’s.
Washington has twice as many at 12 and an average 4.4 yards per carry to Jacksonville’s 4.1. They also average 114 yards a game to Jax’s 104. Not exactly the stats a run-first team should have.
Since Jacksonville is supposed to have a stout defense, I’m sure stopping the run must be good, right? Looks at Derrick Henry and sighs. Jax has allowed 14 TD’s to Washington’s 11. SO, there is a little light. Maybe Fournette, Hyde and Yeldon can do something.
Both teams are allowing 4.5 a rush. That’s just so pitiful I want to punch something. Moving on to rainbows. As much crap as the national media wants to throw at Jalen Ramsey and the secondary, they seem to overlook that when it comes to stopping the pass, no one is better.
They are tied with Minnesota in only allowing 15. Washington is 18th in allowing 23. Dearest wide receivers, CATCH THE DANG BALL and you will win. They’re allowing a 66.8 completion percentage. Do your jobs and make that number so.
CATCH THE DANG BALL, JAGS
That’s the key to this game. While the Jaguars may want to keep the game plan conservative with Kessler, they ought to open it wide open, unless, or until he does bad. BAD, not mediocre. What have they got to lose, a play off spot? If it works, the fans are happy, they can keep him for next season as a security blanket or get a high trade partner for him. If it doesn’t, oh well. Do you hear me, Milanovich? Balls to the walls.
For Washington to win, they need to run the ball. Johnson may know ten plays and Todd Wash has experience with him, plus he’s facing a damn good secondary. His best shot is at screens and shallow crossers since the edge rushing seems to have died this season along with tackling.
I’m going to be at TIAA – I’m not hurt, no funeral to go to and no ER visit for puking. Knock on wood. SO, it better not rain and turn into a plodding run game. I didn’t get to the field to eat the grass, if I did, I’d say this was in the bag. If they lose, heads should roll.
Cowboys (8-5) vs Colts (7-6)
You should never root for a divisional opponent to win, but dang I detest the Cowboys and since Jacksonville is out of the PO race, I hope Dallas loses. Three reasons: when Jerry Jones loses he looks like a South Park character. Secondly, every year the national media says this is the team to go a Super Bowl. Finally, they get so many unwarranted national TV games.
Neither team looks all that healthy, it may be a wash, except, Andrew Luck has had a good season because this OL has done a great job protecting him. Quenton Nelson has a back issue and that could allow him to get run over.
Dak Prescott is too erratic for me to think he’s a QB I’d bet on to win a game. He throws a few elite passes a game to make people forget all the boneheaded ones. His passing charts can’t show those. They do show he’s thrown less TD’s than he’s played games.
Meanwhile, Andrew Luck is throwing almost 2x times as many (Jags put a wrench in his record).
This game should be a good one. Dallas defense vs Indy offense. Jacksonville showed how it can be done, but the Cowboys don’t have the same talent. Remember, Jax also kept Mahones from throwing a TD.
Indy and Dallas both have allowed the same number of passing TD’s – 19. That gives the advantage to Luck since he’s thrown more than their average and Prescott has thrown less. When it comes to air yards, there’s a .2 difference between them. Both teams allow a 97 passer rating, advantage Indy, again. So, when it comes to passing, the game is Indy’s to lose.
Both teams have the same amount defensive sacks (35); however, when it comes to taking sacks, Prescott has gone down 48 times for a staggering 293 lost yards.
As far as rushing defense, Indy has allowed 10 TD’s to Dallas’s seven. .2 yards also separate them for rushing yards per play. Overall, Dallas is better at stopping the run on all levels, but not by much. Which may not matter for Dallas since Indy doesn’t run a whole lot; however, Dallas does. Their offense is built off of it. Dallas has 11 to Indy’s 8 rushing TD’s.
The bottom line is, the Colts are a better team. In order for Dallas to win, they will need their secondary to find a way to stop Luck and keep them from scoring because the boys lag far behind in that category.
Indy is scoring one more TD a game than Dallas. That’s where their run game can help – keep Luck off the field.
For Indy, the answer is to get after Dak. Sacking him shouldn’t be too difficult. If they can contain the edges, all the better because he’s better on the run than from the pocket.
Obviously, Elliot is the weapon and they can only do so much, but flustering Prescott will force three and outs. Indy’s best defense is Luck throwing TDs. If Luck stays to form, they win. I’ll take his passing game over Dallas’s run game.
Until next week…
Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans are featured in this AFCS Week 12 Scouting Report – Injury Reports, Stats, Passing Charts, Referee Crews, TV Viewing.
Mathematically, Jacksonville still has a chance to make the play-offs (don’t laugh), so until they’re eliminated, we’re going to treat this as a normal week. Once they do get the ax, then we’ll switch to 2019 and draft watch mode.
The first game up is of course the Jags as the lone AFCS 1:00 game.
Jaguars (3-7) vs Bills (3-7) CBS
As an aside, if Walt Anderson ever refs another Jaguars game, I may need to jump on the field and kick his ass. I’ve never been arrested, but might as well add it to my bucket list. My guess is I won’t be alone as he’s lucky the field wasn’t stormed last week by infuriated fans carrying torches and pitchforks.
This game is going to sooo exciting, just like the KC/Rams aerial-fest we saw this week. Not sure how the tens of millions watching will be able to contain themselves. I’m sure history will be made for all the primetime viewers to witness. I’m thinking 9-3.
Only posting their last games to make a point and one it’s clear to see what it is.
I wanted to get the ugly out of the way before moving on the injury reports which look better than those outstanding passing charts.
For Jags fans, the big, oh crap, is DJ Chark because he’s the fastest guy on the team and while he’s raw, he’s made gains. However, since Bortles doesn’t need a fast receiver to get downfield for all those deep bombs, he may not be a big missing key.
These two teams are top of the boards in total defense, each have only allowed 14 passing TDs. As far as rushing TD’s, Jags have allowed eight and Buffalo nine. Buffalo is averaging 99 yards to the rush and Jacksonville 109, so these teams are very close.
As far the offenses go, when it comes to the run, the Bills have seven scores to the Jaguars’ four; however, Jax is averaging .2 more yards a carry (woohoo).
Here’s the one and only stat that matters: Buffalo has a grand total of 5 passing TD’s. As anemic as Bortles has looked, he does have 13.
That’s the key for Jax to win.
Contain the run
don’t turn the ball over.
Score on defense
force Bortles to throw deep or to the outside
contain the run
don’t let Bortles run to the outside
It’s tough to get excited about two teams who have pitiful offenses and you hold your breath each time the ball is thrown. I believe the Jags will win because their defense is much better than Buffalo’s offense.
Normally, I have a lot more to write about Jacksonville, but there’s not much to say because it’s obvious the key is for the defense to give a damn. The game lies on them.
Dolphins (5-5) vs Colts (5-5) 4:25 CBS
I don’t like the Dolphins, but we sure need Adam Gase to find a way to win.
The Dolphins are a wreck injury-wise, adding one more reason their work is cut out for them. The Colts real concern is two TE’s that are questionable, since they are Andrew Luck’s favorite targets.
Once again, not posting the full passing charts because Ryan only played a handful of games before getting hurt. In his five games his completion percentage was pretty good, that’s what the Dolphins will need to win.
Obviously, this will have to be a defensive game for Miami in order to give Tannenhill a chance to keep up. I’m not going to use Miami’s passing stats because Asweiler isn’t playing.
Miami only has 3 rushing TD’s compared to Indy’s seven, but some of that is due to the QBing. It’s tough to run if teams can load the box because there’s not a fear of the pass. However, not sure Tannehill is that much of an upgrade. It may be up to Amendola (who’s hurt).
When it comes to stopping the run, Miami is bad. They allow 142 yards a game and are tied for 19th in TD’s given up. Indy is tied for 7th for TD’s and give up 105 yards game.
The grits come down to passing defense. Indy has given up 16 TDs, Miami, 18. That’s the ball game. If Miami’s defense can’t have the game of their season, this is a done deal for Indy. The bad news is Miami ranks down at 29th for sacks while Indy is 16th.
The good news is Indy is down to only two TE’s from the four they had just two weeks ago. This will limit Luck which Miami will need since they’re not great at stopping TE’s.
As far as Miami’s TE’s, Indy isn’t great stopping them, either. In fact they’re down in 26th.
Keys for Miami to win
use their TE’s
force Luck from the pocket
Indy to win
Luck just needs to throw no picks
Yes, simple. On paper, Miami needs to do more than they have in a road game and Indy play the same.
Titans (5-5) vs Texans (7-3) Monday 8:15 ESPN
Don’t like either team and if they tied, I wouldn’t cry. I wish they had Walt Anderson and his crew so the fans could have freak-outs all game.
While Tennessee is very healthy, the same cannot be said of the Texans. Here’s the deal, if the Jags lose, then I’m pulling for the Titans to lose, too. Considering that Marcus Mariota is like a box of chocolates, that could happen.
An injured Mariota (again) behind an OL that also has some injuries may not be a recipe for success. However, Deshaun Watson has his own OL issues that have left him a battered soul, too.
This game could end up in which QB lasts the longest. Neither offense is tearing up the NFL, but Watson has 18 TD’s to Mariota’s 7. For these two, I am posting more charts because there wasn’t a chart for Mariota with all his throws. Odd.
The Titans haven’t won from a passing attack, which is obvious since they have the second worst TD amount and overall are 30th. As far as rushing, they’re mid-pack in TD’s and yards.
When it comes to Houston, they’re tied for second worse with only 4 TD’s and an average of 4 yards. Both QB’s will run, but Mariota is the dangerous one when he does.
On the passing side, Houston is 15th and Tennessee is 31st. Bottom line, it means that these teams are dependent on their defenses which is a great thing for Tennessee who’s third best in not allowing passing TD’s.
The Texans aren’t far behind with only three more. In stopping the run, both teams are aces in only allowing 5 (Houston) and 6.
The keys for both defenses is the same, but feel bad to say, it’s to hit the QB’s since they’re so beat-up.
The Texans have a bye, so this week there are only two games in this AFCS Week 10 Game Previews. To say that the Jaguars must win and the Titans need to lose is an understatement. There will be no hope of winning a play off spot without wins throughout. If the Texans could stumble, that would best. Duh.
Patriots* (7-2) vs Titans (4-4) CBS
This game is in Nashville giving the Titans a slim chance because the refs should be more fair.
Notable injury is to Gronk, but Sony Michel is back, so these two are washes. I’ve seen different reports on if Gronk is out, but it’s early, so will wait for an official statement. Also, no one ever believes their injury reports, so take them with a grain of salt.
An already beat-up Marcus Mariota will be down his tackle, which is where NE* will attack.
It’s tough muster up any kind of excitement for this game, I can’t stand either team and despise Brady*. How can anyone cheer for NE*? At this point, the AFC PO roads go through KC, LA (yes, said LAR because they could be the dark horse) and NE*. For Jacksonville, if they were to win out, Titans winning just this game, wouldn’t be horrid to help knock NE* down.
KC is the team Jax would least want to face since they would have to play there in a tie. A tie vs NE* means Jax at home. Since winning the division is key, that means beating Pitt and so the same applies.
Moving on, the Titans defense has a chance because their defense (on a good day) isn’t bad and Tom Brady* beyond ten yards is looking suspect. His accuracy is very off this season; however, his receivers have been helping him out and he finds ways to pick defenses a part even though the zip isn’t there – like Peyton his ending years. His mind wins over strength.
Tennessee is 6th vs the pass, Jax gave the league the blueprint to beat them and the Titans may have the talent to do something similar in their house. They’re really good vs the rush and with Sony Michel back that may be key. Combine that with having 20 sacks and they have a chance. The way to beat Brady* is get in his face and bump him (I’d sack him, but if they touch him harder than a hip bump, they’ll get flagged).
When it comes to Mariota, his passing charts aren’t stellar, but he’s been hurt. New England is 28th vs the pass which could help him out; however, he’s got two hurt WR’s and a tackle out.
New England is 21st vs the run, but they’ve only allowed 3 TD’s and that’s big since Tennessee has five rushing TD’s and Mariota only has six passing. This offense has been one more of opportunity than a well-oiled machine.
When it comes to NE*, they’re 8th in passing and 9th in rushing. They also create turnovers, 11 interceptions, something the Titans don’t do well, they only have six.
Keys for Tennessee to get a win:
hope their secondary finds a way to cover well enough giving them time to jam Brady*.
they can run the ball
Keys for NE*
play Patriot* football
Here’s the thing, NE* isn’t a speedy team, they beat you with their play calling. They love their 21 personnel and matching up Patterson (who is a true flex player) on the slowest linebacker. I don’t think TN is quite there, yet in speed and discipline to beat NE*.
Jaguars (3-5) vs Colts (3-5) CBS
The Jags injury report is smaller than it’s been in a while, but after a bye week, it should be. It is disconcerting that both TE’s (neither have more than a combined single game of experience) is on here. I just don’t understand their blasé attitude towards having no TE’s.
The good news is: no OL! Can they stay healthy is the biggest question because with a healthy line, we see good Bortles, without, we see the turnover machine. Combine that with two power backs and we could witness what was envisioned before the season was wrecked with injuries.
Meanwhile, the surging Colts are still dealing with injuries and a few of their players go off a week, only to pop back up the next. What’s to note is although they got Jack Doyle back, their other TE’s are out.
Ok, here’s some brass tacks: Jax run defense stinks, it’s allowing over 125 yards a game and almost a TD per outing. Their bread and butter was in the passing game with AJ Bouye. They were stingy with yards per pass and air TD’s.
These two teams on offense are polar opposites and if Bouye was playing, I’d say this could be a strong win. Also, since Indy is middle of the pack stopping run yards (but even with Jax in allowing TD’s), this would be a good match-up for a strong run first team.
However, do we know how Fournette and Hyde will do? How healthy is the OL, really? That’s what this game will come down to: can Jacksonville be the pass defending juggernaut and Fournette be at 2017 form?
If those two are yeses, then Jax could be on the receiving end of a win.
Must add this. Jalen Ramsey has to be a leader out there. If the DB’s aren’t communicating, missing assignments, he needs to channel some Ray Lewis and get in their face. Someone needs to be the leader of the secondary and it for dang sure isn’t Barry, drink until 4am, Church.
Looking at Indy, they’ve really shored up their pass defense which isn’t good news for Bortles if that OL can’t give him the time he needs. To me, I’d try to come out passing because Indy will be expecting the run.
Test them. See if they prepared for a heavy run defense and maybe Bortles can surprise them because that is going to be crucial if the Jags’ secondary isn’t dominant. Jacksonville can’t be spending seven minutes a drive for a rush TD and Luck throws a TD in two minutes.
The way to stop Indy is for the secondary to play man as often as they can buying time for the DL to sack him, hit him. They’ve got to take away the pass game to even things out.
It would seem prudent to play a safety high and stop the short pass which is where getting DJ Hayden could be a huge help (but keep reading). Luck is among the worst at air yards, Indy’s dink and dunk game is the short pass which is averaging 6.4 air yards. The guy throws 4 TD’s in a game with 156 yards.
He’s a surgeon in reading the field and knowing exactly where to go with the ball. That’s the bad news to leaving one safety, he lulls defenses into playing short and then lobs one deep.
Based on that, Jax will need to get very creative in the looks they show Luck. They’ve got to confuse him.
Even though Jax stinks at run stopping, better that than allowing him to pass. Speaking of which, clearly he’s a GOD in the RZ and that is what must be stopped, letting him get there.
I debated posting Bortles passing charts because they’re pitiful, but they include his running and that should be made a part of the game plan. RPO the snot out of them today. Oh, have to add that the receivers drop a lot and that does affect his numbers.
Keys to winning for Jags:
defense: white on rice for the receivers
DL needs to get in his face early and often
OL needs to block, give BB confidence to throw
Keys to winning for Indy:
pick on injured Telvin Smith
pick on Patmon
play press because Jax receivers rarely get separation
From the Jax coaches, we need to see some aggressive play calling out there. The season is on the line, go for broke.
Both the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Indianapolis Colts have bye weeks, so this preview is only the Texans and Titans. Unfortunately for the Jags, based on stats and watching the two teams, it looks like the Texans will win in this AFCS Week 8 Game Preview.
Texans (5-3) vs Broncos (3-5) CBS
The Texans are still beat-up, but somehow still find ways to win. Clowney has been on a tear lately, so his injury hurts. Pun intended.
The Broncos have a couple of key injuries that Watson should be able to use and tear the Broncos up.
The Broncos operate efficiently off their run game and while Lindsey has been their bell cow, Freeman hasn’t been a schlub, but add him with a banged up Janovich and more just got dumped on Case Keenum.
That’s a bad thing if you know stats and his is ranked 29th for TD-INT ratio. The last thing Denver needs is more throwing from their $25M man. In addition, they’re down a starting and back-up CB and their starting SS.
For the Texans, their secondary is also banged up, but Keenum shouldn’t strike fear, he’s thrown an INT in every game he’s played, ranking him dead last in that dubious category.
Denver is third in rushing, Houston 5th; however, the Broncos have 9 rushing TD’s compared to the Texans’ 4. That’s the ball game right there. Keep them out of the red zone where they score and game over.
Houston is 15-7 in TD-INT, so Denver’s secondary is going to have a long day. Strangely, the Texans’ defense is the exact same. They’ve allowed 15 passing TD’s and intercepted 7.
Bottom line, this is a bad match-up for the Broncos because Houston has only allowed two rushing TD’s, the very motor Denver must have to win. In fact, their OC this week said he wants to run the ball even more.
In addition, Demaryius Thomas was recently dumped and one can imagine he’s not too happy and won’t mind pumping the Texans with everything he knows which is everything.
Sure, the Broncos know all about DT, but who are they going to put on him? He may be a little slower in his step, but he’s good route runner, he’s big and if they cover him, that’s an open guy elsewhere.
Denver is ranked 28th against the run and 16th against the pass. With their secondary gasping for breath, doubtful that number increases. This is bad news for Jaguar fans who need a Texans loss.
No comment on these passing charts because they tell the story of who’s safer with the ball and maybe a harbinger of the day to come.
Titans (3-4) vs Cowboys (3-4) Monday 8:15 ESPN
The Titans look pretty healthy sad to say.
Cowboys are a little banged up, also sad to say.
This is another game the Jags need some help with a loss by the Titans. Fortunately, this one seems more doable than the Texans game. While Dallas will be short-handed, their secondary, which is second against the pass is healthy.
They’ve only allowed 8 passing TD’s. Not to be left behind, TN has only allowed 9, so the passing defenses on these two teams are evenly matched.
When it comes to stopping the run, both teams are also close – TN has allowed 3, Dallas, 4. Both teams are also behind the curve when it comes to giveaways. Each are in the negative.
Which means this game will truly come down to who turns the ball over, least.
When it comes to total offense, both teams are way down in the dregs of the awful. Both teams are 30 and 31st in passing – they like to pass to the other team. Prescott is 50-50.
Tennessee is worse, but they had Gabbert for a couple of games and a hurt Mariota.
The only difference that separates these teams is Zeke Elliot and even he isn’t burning up the charts. I like to use TD stats over yards because who cares if you can throw and run between the 30’s if when you get in the red zone, you get a FG or zip?
Some teams have a lot of empty yards, so it’s the points that’s worth looking at. The cowboys have five rushing TD’s and Tennessee has three. Kind of pitiful.
In case you were wondering, both teams have missed two field goals and made all their XP’s, so the kicking game may not be a factor.
Neither QB is tearing it up, but with the game in Dallas and Dak doing better with the ball than Mariota, the edge goes to the Cowboys.