Saturday 19 August 2017 / 04:15 AM

COLTS v TITANS: DOES THE AFC SOUTH EVEN MATTER?

The Indianapolis Colts hosted the Tennessee Titans in a relatively one-sided encounter on Sunday. The two AFC South rivals faced off in what was a very first-half game.

The Colts bolted off with a 14-0 start and held on for the majority of the game. The Titans tried to win the game by going for a 1st down in a 4th down situation in the 4th quarter, but ultimately weren’t able to convert, and the Colts prevailed 24-17.

I’m not the type of guy to criticize a team for bold moves, unless they are Seahawks “why don’t we throw it at the goal line instead of give it to Marshawn Lynch” in the last minute of the Super Bowl-level boneheaded, but I will not hesitate to call weak plays out for what they are. The Titans had the opportunity and they went for it, but it just wasn’t in the cards.

Titans’ Offensive Struggles

The game had hardly started and the Titans were down 14-0. I thought this was going to be a relatively back and forth game compared to what it was, but you just can’t go down 14 in the first quarter and win without some sort of divine intervention. There weren’t any turnovers except for an Andrew Luck interception, or fumbles, so this was a straight-up offense game. The Colts just proved to have the better offense today and the Titans have something to work on for the following weeks.

Marcus Mariota Could be a Rising Star

Watching this game I was frustrated with Mariota, and so was he. Then I thought, ‘wait, this kid was just in the 2015 NFL draft’. I remember watching him play for Oregon, and now he’s holding his own in the NFL. Yes, he had a slow start, but that just shows he’s got a lot to learn as a QB. He threw for 290 yards on 25/38 attempts, which is better than the yardage Tom Brady got this weekend. Sure, it’s unfair to compare Mariota to Tom Brady but it’s still worth noting. What separates quarterbacks like Brady from the pack is the thirst for victory. Mariota threw for 2 touchdowns, whereas Brady threw for 4 on less yardage. Mariota had a better game than Luck, and he lost.

The Race for the Worst NFL Division Heats up

The AFC South is pretty bad as a division. The deadweight Jacksonville Jags are almost as bad as the Cleveland Browns in the AFC North, but the AFC North has the Ravens and Steelers. The Houston Texans are leading the AFC South with a 6-3 record and a 3-0 lead within the division, and with this victory the Colts got the second spot with a .500.

Can the Colts Get the Number One Spot?

Luck started out playing phenomenal. In his first two drives, he had a 158.3 passer rating. Things looked good until his passer rating dropped by 100 points during the remaining three quarters. We can’t blame Luck for all the Colts’ woes, but let’s not start hyping Indy up just yet. In fact, there isn’t going to be much to say about the Colts until they face the Texans in three weeks on December 11th. There’s a lot that can happen between now and then, but as far as the AFC South is concerned, the business goes down against the Texans.

Is the AFC South relevant?

If the #1 Texans can be spanked by even the second-ranked team in most other AFC divisions, I wouldn’t put my bets on the AFC South. The JJ Watt injury was a crippling blow to the Texans, and they’re handling their own, but when it comes down to it this is just not an AFC South season. Put the Texans, Colts or Titans against the Patriots, Ravens, Steelers, Raiders, Broncos or the post-October 16th Dolphins, and you can tell that the AFC South is hanging out at the bottom of the AFC barrel.

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About the author

Alex Moskov

Alex has come on board with CBS as our basketball and gridiron expert, providing opinions and analysis from the bright lights of the NBA and NFL.

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