AFC South week two sees San Diego Charged Up

AFC South week two sees San Diego Charged Up

The season is underway. Week 1 overreactions have been obliterated, or added to. Worries have grown or been soothed. Or, we can’t place any stock in September football because it tells us nothing. At this stage last year, AFC South champion Houston Texans were 0-2. Like famed bastard Jon Snow, we know nothing.
Or do we? This reporter thinks there are some things that hold true based on our eyes. We can see things that are plainly evident. We don’t need faith, the evidence of things not seen, nor do we need statistics to try to belie what our eyes see. So in this recap of week 2 in the AFC South, we investigate what is true for each team and what might not be, in the interest of fairness, this scribe’s polemics can only go so far before he scampers for the middle ground.

Kansas City Chiefs 12 – Houston Texans 19
What is true
The Texans are the best team in the AFC South. Does that translate to winning the division? Probably but not definitely. What we do know through two weeks is that the Texans have the most balanced roster, are the best coached and the most capable team in this lowly division.
Avenging the shellacking that the Chiefs handed out in last seasons Wild Card round, the Texans looked like a well-oiled machine. Their big signing free agents are performing, their rookies are spearheaded by the exciting and instant impact player Will Fuller, and their No1 weapon is getting back into the groove. JJ Watt looked more like himself and registered a fumble recovery and 1.5 sacks. With Clowney starting to really hum, this correspondent is getting a lot of joy from watching this D ball out.

Is it true?
Brock Osweiler has done capably through the first two weeks. But there have been a few mental errors and a few mistakes that might make us all take pause. Granted, he is still in single digits for career starts and this is a new team but, whilst he has performed well, lingering doubts about his ability to truly excel at the QB position hold, for me. Time will tell and a TNF game at the Patriots will be a great opportunity for him to lay these doubts to rest.

Jacksonville Jaguars 14 – San Diego Chargers 38
What is true
The Jags have some really good young players. That is true. Yannick Ngakoue is playing above his draft position, Dante Fowler is starting to find his feet and Jalen Ramsey came out of this game with some credit. On offence, we know Allen Robinson has talent and though frustrating at times, is legit as a top tier WR.
What is also true is that the Jags can’t get out of the blocks. Blake Bortles has thrown three TDs in the first quarter of games in his professional career. THREE! That says an awful lot about the situations the Jags find themselves in and it is true that they have a lot further to go than perhaps the hipsters and hype-train peddlers (your humble jotter blotter here included) realised and a lot of this has to lay with the coaches.

Is it true?
The score belies the fact that this was essentially a shut-out by the Chargers starters. Bortles did as Bortles does and padded his stats in garbage time. So is it true? Is Bortles a gun-slinger who only starts unloading once the pressure is off and he only has to aim at antique cans on a rickety fence? Through two weeks we have mixed messages but over the course of his career, we perhaps are seeing a trend to the latter. This is really one to be debated by the zealots, armchair QB pundits and the Jags community.

Indianapolis Colts 20 – Denver Broncos 34
What is true
The Colts have the worst D in football. Mitigating circumstances permitted, such as losing FIVE cornerbacks, this is still a terrible D. Even if they were able to roll all their starters, this would be a bottom five unit. Through two weeks we have seen poor, poor play. Not just the technical scheming but the inability to tackle, the being bested in physical match-ups, the fact that this D is playing, to use the strongest worded term in football parlance, SOFT.
Yes, they may not have given up the most points but this D is going to hamstring the Colts all year and blame must lie at the feet of GM Ryan Grigson. Utterly inept drafting talent, he has proven equally incompetent in free agency. The coaching staff deserve some blame because the way this D is playing, it isn’t just about overall talent levels but really it is a roster constructed so haphazardly that there isn’t much we could see by way of improvement.

Is it true?
Is TY Hilton a leading WR? I’m not asking is he elite as we know he doesn’t fit in that category but he has looked decidedly average this season, under the eye-test rather than any advanced metrics. If this team has any hope of respectability this season, Andrew Luck needs his WR corps to perform. With Dante Moncrief exiting the game with a head injury, Hilton needed to, and needs to, step-up and be the WR1 he is paid to be. But can he be that? Hilton looked like a world-beater in Andrew Luck’s 40TD season in 2014 but since then he has not hit those heights. As Luck starts to look like his old self, the Colts desperately need Hilton to do the same.

Tennessee Titans 16 – Detroit Lions 15
What is true
A win is a win is a win. All wins are not equal. What am I saying here? Essentially that the Titans are 1-1 but look like they could struggle to win another game all season. The Titans are who we thought they were prior to the preseason games. That is, a team coached poorly with a lot of holes. This game was not fun to watch and what is true is that poorly coached teams struggle even with great talent.

Is it true?
Is the Titans D actually really good? Through two weeks we’ve seen more out of this unit that perhaps we could have expected. Dick LeBeau is doing a good job, but is this unit a ‘good’ one? It is likely that we are seeing a burst and they regress. If the offence can’t click the pressure on the D will be onerous, as it has been in the first two games.



Gareth Duxbury

Gareth joined the team in 2016 and covers the AFC South for the site. He has been following the NFL for over 15 years, though first encountered the game through Channel 4’s hourly recap programme in the late 1980s, and over the last couple of seasons begun to write about the draft through his own blog. Gareth tweets from @GDux3 and you can also follow him on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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