AFC South a jumbled mess with two games remaining

By Omnisport 19 December 2016 281
AFC South a jumbled mess with two games remaining

Could there be a three-way tie in the AFC South? It is very possible after the Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans claimed improbable NFL wins on Sunday.

The Titans and Texans are tied atop the division with 8-6 records, but the Indianapolis Colts are right behind them after cruising to a 34-6 road win over the Minnesota Vikings.

Houston benched starting quarterback Brock Osweiler after a pair of interceptions. Backup Tom Savage then rallied the Texans to a 21-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, who fired head coach Gus Bradley following the game.

The Titans kept pace despite a questionable decision by coach Mike Mularkey in the 19-17 victory against the Kansas City Chiefs.

After a Derrick Henry touchdown with just over three minutes remaining brought the Titans within a point of Kansas City, Mularkey passed on an extra point to tie. A two-point conversion pass failed, but Tennessee's defence forced a three-and-out and Titans won the game on Ryan Succop's 53-yard field goal as time expired. 

The Texans and Titans will play each other in the season finale at Nashville's Nissan Stadium. Before that happens, the Titans will play at Jacksonville (2-12) while the Texans host the Cincinnati Bengals (5-8-1). But the Colts are also in play with a road game against the Oakland Raiders (11-3) before hosting the Jaguars on January 1.

In the case of a three-way tie, the Texans would hold the edge because of their division record. 

The Raiders, who clinched a playoff spot Sunday with a 19-16 win over the Chargers, broke a tie with the Chiefs atop the AFC West. Kansas City do hold the tiebreaker, thanks to their season sweep of the Raiders. 

The NFC North is also coming down to the wire after the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 30-27 and the Detroit Lions lost 17-6 to the New York Giants.

One division that is not in doubt is the AFC East. The New England Patriots clinched their NFL-record eighth straight division title with a 16-3 win over the Denver Broncos.

Elsewhere, the Dallas Cowboys beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26-20, the New Orleans Saints outlasted the Arizona Cardinals 48-41, the Pittsburgh Steelers trumped the Bengals 24-20, the Philadelphia Eagles lost 27-26 to the Baltimore Ravens, the Buffalo Bills accounted for the Cleveland Browns 33-13, while the Atlanta Falcons crushed the San Francisco 49ers 41-13.



Odell Beckham Jr.'s touchdown against the Lions was another one-handed gem that gave the Giants a 17-6 lead.

The Chiefs got things rolling early against the Titans and Tyreek Hill's 68-yard touchdown run was their longest play from scrimmage this season.

The Packers escaped Soldier Field with a win thanks to Jordy Nelson's 60-yard reception on a perfect pass from Aaron Rodgers that set up Mason Crosby for the game-winning field goal.


Ravens kicker Justin Tucker continued his stellar season, tying an NFL record with his 10th field goal of 50 yards or more on Sunday. Tucker booted a 53-yarder in the first quarter of Baltimore's win over the Eagles. 

Colts running back Frank Gore ran for 101 yards and caught four passes for 14 yards against the Vikings to pass Cowboys Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett for 10th-most career yards from scrimmage in NFL history.



Steve Smith caught two passes for 40 yards against the Eagles and is now seventh on the NFL's all-time receiving yards list, passing Colts Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison.

Giants receiver Beckham Jr. caught six passes for 64 yards and a touchdown to join John Jefferson and Randy Moss as the only receivers in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in each of their first three seasons. 



Bears cornerback Tracy Porter on Rodgers' deep throw to Nelson to set up the game-winning field goal: "I kind of had a feeling that they didn't want to go to overtime. They were trying to win the game... Aaron was able to throw the ball away from [Cre'Von LeBlanc] and Jordy just made an adjustment on the ball."

Texans owner Bob McNair on coach Bill O'Brien's decision to bench starting quarterback Osweiler: "I'm just glad I wasn't the one that had to make that decision. I mean, that was a gutsy call. Give coach credit, he made a change and it was for the good of the team. We benefited from it. Now we have three good quarterbacks and we are proud of all of them."

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