The road to the 2023 NFL playoffs is grueling and daunting. Franchises across the league will use the upcoming weeks to solidify positioning in conference standings. Teams that lack urgency will lose their chance to extend the season. It's simple. DeMeco Ryans' unit is on the cusp of clinching their first playoff berth in five years (2019). They must first take care of business within the AFC South.
How will the Houston Texans take over their division with seven games left?
Trevor Lawrence is the toughest Quarterback remaining in the Regular season
A rematch against the AFC South divisional leaders will have huge playoff implications for both parties involved. The Houston Texans defeated the Jagurs earlier in the campaign. They've improved since then and expect to bring their best. Doug Pederson and the Jacksonville Jaguars are a hard team to defeat. They experienced a five-game winning streak before losing to the 49ers in Week 10. Victory against the Titans helped Trevor Lawrence and his teammates right the ship. They must focus on extending the season, but first, they must defeat the Texans.
Efficient collaborative contributions are helping DeMeco Ryan's unit take care of business this month. Devin Singletary is revitalizing a dismal rushing attack. He's earned half of his rushing yards (471) in the last three weeks. In Week 11, Singletary received his highest rushing grade of the season (70.8). He averaged 5.1 yards per carry and scored a rushing touchdown.
Inconsistencies over the past few weeks at the quarterback position will give Houston an advantage on Sunday afternoon. Trevor Lawrence has struggled recently and is searching for a solid outing. The third-year gunslinger has thrown three interceptions in the last three games. He earned his second-lowest offensive grade (57.9) of the season against the 49ers and must find his rhythm to lead Jacksonville to victory. Matt Burke's defense is ready for battle. They rank 9th in coverage (82.8) and must limit big plays against a strong-armed gunslinger.
Houston Texans must sweep the AFC South Opponents
Sunday's exhibition is not the last divisional game for Houston. Mike Vrabel and the Tennessee Titans will host the Texans at Nissan Stadium on December 17. It will be the first matchup between the franchises this campaign. Derrick Henry (87.9) and DeAndre Hopkins (79.7) will do their best to help their team achieve a victory. The Titans are fourth (3-7) in the AFC South, but that will not prevent them from bringing their best against divisional foes.
A stout offensive performance will be enough to hold off the Titans at the end of the season. We've seen C.J. Stroud's abilities and expect him to destroy a subpar defense. This season, Tenessee ranks 27th in defensive grading (61.7) and coverage (56). They will have their hands full against Bobby Slowik and his talented offensive weapons (t-7).
Two additional divisional wins will help the Texans rise in the standings. They have the second-best overall record (6-4) among their rivals. They need more weighted victories on their resume. DeMeco Ryans' unit will face off against four more AFC South opponents. They must secure wins to punch a ticket to the next phase of the season.
All statistics courtesy of pff.com