The AFC South is all even in the win-loss column following Week 4, and for the Houston Texans Sunday was a missed opportunity to be the leaders.
If there is anything about the AFC South following the Week 4 schedule of games it is there is parity within the division. All four teams have the same amount of wins and losses following the first month of the NFL season.
The Texans are in a tie with the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans as they’ve also played even .500 football in their schedule of games thus far in 2019.
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On Sunday, the Texans and Colts both lost, but the Jaguars won over the Denver Broncos (26-24), and the Titans defeated the Atlanta Falcons 24-10. The two losses in the division had the Texans losing to the Carolina Panthers at 16-10, and the Colts fell to the Oakland Raiders, 31-24.
This division has been up in the air ever since Andrew Luck — formally of the Colts — announced his retirement from the NFL. Remember, the Colts were the outright favorites to win the division when he was on their team.
The Colts have done well with Jacoby Brissett as their starting quarterback this season. In four games, Brissett has passed for 911 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions.
In Sunday’s loss to the Raiders, Brissett completed 52.2 percent of his passes for 265 yards (24-of-46), three touchdowns and one interception. Brissett isn’t Luck, but the Colts should be thankful they have him as their quarterback this season.
Looking at the Texans from Week 4, they never looked like the team they can be on Sunday when it came to their offense. Houston’s offense was defended greatly by the defense of the Panthers, and it off-set all of the success the Houston defense had.
The Texans wide receivers didn’t get open like they needed to, the pressure was very strong on quarterback Deshaun Watson, and even head coach Bill O’Brien felt they needed to “call better plays.”
The rushing game of the Texans played well, but only had a combined 18 carries in the loss to the Panthers. Carlos Hyde finished with 12 carries for 58 yards, and Duke Johnson totaled 56 yards on six carries. Neither had a touchdown or enough carries.
O’Brien was quoted in the postgame press conference as to saying the following in transcripts provided by the Texans media department:
"“We have to call better plays. We got to call better plays. He (Watson) played his butt off. Got to call better plays.”"
Though the comments were simple, and to the point, O’Brien was correct in his statement about the Texans’ offense on Sunday. Houston’s passing game wasn’t working, and they even called for a trick play, but that didn’t work either.
As for the Jaguars, they gained a big road win for their team, and did so without star cornerback Jalen Ramsey who missed the game with a back injury. Quarterback Gardner Minshew played well at 19-of-33 for 213 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He made some impressive plays with his athleticism, and did his part in the Jaguars second win of the season.
The Titans were also strong in Week 4 defeating a talented Falcons team with running back Derrick Henry rushing for 100 yards on 27 carries. The Titans also had two wide receivers catch for at least 90 yards in the game. A.J. Brown finished with three receptions for 94 yards (two touchdowns) and Corey Davis finishing with five receptions for 91 yards (one touchdown).
Tennessee could be a sleeper in the division from here on out. Tennessee also defeated the Cleveland Browns this season, so nobody should take this team lightly. Cleveland is trending upwards following their big win over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4.
The AFC South after four games is up for grabs from here on out. There are still many games within the division to be played, and for the Texans they let a great opportunity slip away from them on Sunday.
Houston’s defense played well by forcing three fumbles, but the offense didn’t do their part and it shows in the standings. The Texans are in for a tough battle to repeat as AFC South champions due to the parity thus far in the division.