AFC South Roundup: Week 2

It was another 2-2 week overall in the AFC South. The Titans got their first division win of 2020, knocking off the Jaguars 33-30 in a closer-than-expected matchup, while the Texans lost at home to Baltimore and the Colts blew out the hapless Vikings in Indy.

Despite the Colts win, Tennessee’s victory over the Jaguars pushed them into the odds-on favorite position to win the AFC South, according to Sports Betting Dime’s divisional odds tracker. Titans fans need no reminder of how important division records can be when it comes to late-season playoff scenarios.

We will have plenty of Titans coverage here this week, but let’s take a spin around the rest of the division and how they performed this week.

Indianapolis Colts (1-1)

Week 2 Result: 28-11 win versus Minnesota

The Colts bounced back from a maybe-not-as-bad-as-we-thought loss to the Jaguars by pasting the Vikings 28-11 at Lucas Oil Field. Indy’s defense was the star of the show in this one, sacking Kirk Cousins three times — once for a safety — and forcing him into three interceptions on the way to outgaining Minnesota 354 to 175 in total yards.

Cousins never looked comfortable throughout this game, but particularly early on. Two of his three turnovers and the safety came in the first half, burying the Vikings in a 15-3 hole that they would never escape.

The first interception was a ill-advised throw into double coverage as Cousins tried to hit a deep post going away from his half-boot action and his eyes were bigger than his arm. The ball died and made for an easy pick for the undercutting safety, Khari Willis. The second came on an end-of-the-half hail mary. And the third was a pass that hit wide receiver Olabisi Johnson in the hands and glanced off into the arms of Kenny Moore.

Really, just one of the three turnovers was a poor play by Cousins — the first one — but he didn’t play well outside of the turnovers either. The Vikings QB was late on throws consistently and just looked hesitant in general. Credit the Colts defense for creating some confusion for the veteran signal-caller, but there were a lot of unforced errors by the Minnesota offense in this game and it started behind center.

It didn’t help Cousins that he was being protected by a journeyman left guard in Dakota Dozier — think Jamil Douglas, Titans fans — and a second year right guard who was making his first career start in Dru Samia. In the middle of those two massive question marks was 2019 1st round pick Garrett Bradbury, who despite his impressive athleticism, still has a tendency to get bullied into the backfield on a regular basis.

The result was a banner day for new Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner who posted 1.5 sacks and 4 QB hits, including this hit on Cousins following a vicious hump move to beat Samia.

On offense, the Colts moved the ball decently, but it certainly wasn’t an impressive performance. Four of Indy’s ten offensive drives started in Minnesota territory, thanks in large part to the aforementioned turnovers.

Jonathan Taylor piled up 101 yards on the ground on 26 carries (3.88 YPC) and appears to be the workhorse in the Indy backfield with Marlon Mack out for the season. Philip Rivers was an efficient 19 of 25 for 214 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception, but just like Week 1, he made some bad mistakes. Tight end Mo Alie-Cox, starting for the injured Jack Doyle, was the Colts leading receiver with 5 catches for 110 yards.

The Colts rebounded nicely in this game and the defense was particularly impressive with Buckner joining returning stars Darius Leonard, Justin Houston, and Kenny Moore to make a ton of plays on Sunday. Indianapolis just might have the best linebacking corps in the league.

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