AFC South State of the Division – Week 3

Sep 22, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley during warm ups prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Week 3 in the NFL was just as tumultuous as the second week. Teams expected to play well did not and vice versa, the Jaguars aside. The Texans flopped against the defending champion Ravens when they were expected to put up a fight. The Titans got a shockingly good performance from the usually pedestrian Jake Locker. The Colts upset the 49ers by punching Harbaugh's sluggers in the mouth. At least the Jaguars delivered the goods by just plain stinking as expected.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts made their claim to the top of the division by giving the San Francisco 49ers a royal beatdown in San Francisco. The read option from the 49ers offense was nullified by the best defensive performance by the Colts in a decade. The power running game gave the 49ers fits and Andrew Luck had a fairly easy cruise to victory. The offensive line looked dominant despite a major overhaul thanks to injuries. It was a resounding victory that Chuck Pagano saw as a defining moment for his monster.

The Colts have a legitimate claim to the division at this point not only by record but by performance. Given Houston's slow start and the Colts' sole loss to an undefeated Miami team there's little reason to believe that they aren't the best team in the division at this moment. I'm starting to trust the defense and the offensive line may have found a bit of magic. If Pep Hamilton's power scheme can give Luck enough time to break out this team will excel.

This week is Jags week and we know that means lots of salivating from the "375!" crowd down in Jacksonville. Don't expect an easy run through the league's worst team but I'd still expect the Colts to have a pretty solid claim to the division after Sunday.

Houston Texans

I'm not ready to throw the Texans on the trash heap yet. They still have a solid defense and a rushing attack that can get the job done.

The problem has been slow starts. This team seems to love to dig a big hole and then attempt to climb out. They did so again against Baltimore and the Ravens know how to finish. The Texans again suffered from a less-than-stellar outing from Matt Schaub. His pick-six was demoralizing and his overall performance wasn't good enough to get it done. They need the offense to come out of the gates firing.

After three weeks the Texans look less like contenders and more like pretenders. Can they get back on track against the Seahawks and the league's best defense? Here's an easy answer: no. This week could be the death knell for this team's Super Bowl hopes. If they start the season 2-2 and can't get it done against either Baltimore or Seattle then I'd have a hard time believing they can win it all.

Tennessee Titans

I'm starting to believe in this team just a little. Don't be shocked if I throw them under the bus next week as they face the Jets. Should they lose that matchup I won't be impressed.

This week they got a shocking overtime win against the sputtering Steelers on the back of Jake Locker's superb long-bomb TD. This win really gave Locker the confidence he's lacked in the first two games. The team perhaps believes in him and they need to if they are to contend for the division crown. 

The Titans didn't utterly impress me defensively however. The Steelers are decimated with injury and lack power in their punch. The Titans getting the win is huge but they should have done so easily after a convincing win over the Chargers and their OT battle with Houston. Overall the team is getting it done which is a big shock to me. 

Let's see if they can hold off the Jets.

Jacksonville Jaguars

They suck. That's a sad summary of their loss to Seattle but it's all you really need.

Gus Bradley simply doesn't have the manpower to do much of anything he wants to do. Three rookie defensive backs, an offensive line with more holes than a Parke County road and QB drama to boot have done this team in already. David Caldwell is already in full rebuilding mode.

This week's tilt against Indy won't have the same oomph as years past but perhaps it can still be fun. If I were Bradley I'd switch to a man blocking scheme and hand the ball to MJD until his legs fell off. There's not much else they can do.

Todd Smith

About Todd Smith

Todd Smith is a part-time sportswriter who spends too much time arguing on Twitter. What he really loves is eating poorly and watching football. He got his first Colts t-shirt in 1984 shortly after the Mayflower trucks arrived and has never given up on his hometown team. He also still holds to the belief that Kordell Stewart stepped out of the end zone and thus cheated the Colts.