AFC South standings: What Jaguars, Texans & Colts’ Week 14 losses mean for division race, AFC playoff picture

The Jaguars entered Week 14 of the 2023 NFL season facing a difficult task. They needed to beat the Browns with either an injured Trevor Lawrence or backup C.J. Beathard to guarantee division control.

They couldn’t ultimately do that. Lawrence played but was clearly hampered by the high-ankle sprain he suffered on Monday against the Bengals. He threw three interceptions in a 31-27 loss to the Browns.

But despite the defeat, the Jaguars remain in control of the AFC South. Why? Because their primary rivals within the division were also unable to win.

The Colts saw their four-game winning streak come to an end against the Bengals. Jake Browning had another strong outing for the Bengals, completing 18 of 24 passes for 275 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in a dominant 34-14 victory.

Meanwhile, the high-flying Texans offense was grounded by a Jets defense that held them to just six points. Making matters worse, quarterback C.J. Stroud suffered a head injury late in the 30-6 Houston loss and landed in the NFL’s concussion protocol. His status moving forward could have a major impact on the AFC playoff races.

MORE: Updated NFL playoff picture for Week 14

But where do things within the division stand after Week 14? Here’s what to know about the AFC South standings as race remains tight.

AFC South standings

Three teams in the AFC South have records above .500, but the Jaguars currently have control of the division. Jacksonville has a record of 8-4 and is one game ahead of the Colts and Texans, who each have records of 7-6.

Below is a full look at the AFC South standings through Week 14, with the Titans’ “Monday Night Football” result against the Dolphins still pending.

Place Team Record
1 Jaguars 8-4
2 Colts 7-6
3 Texans 7-6
4 Titans 4-8

The Jaguars remain the team to beat in the AFC South despite suffering consecutive losses. Lawrence’s sprained ankle will be an obstacle they have to overcome in the final four weeks of the season, especially with a Week 15 matchup against the Ravens looming.

Still, the Jaguars maintaining their one-game lead is a boon to their playoff chances. Based on Sporting News’ projection model, Jacksonville is projected to maintain that lead and win the AFC South by two games.

Team xW-L Div% WC% Playoff% No. 1 seed% AFC% SB%
Jaguars 11-6 80.3% 16.5% 96.8% 2.4% 5.8% 2.1%
Texans 9-8 10.2% 45.5% 55.8% 0.0% 0.9% 0.3%
Colts 9-8 9.5% 41.6% 51.1% 0.0% 0.4% 0.1%
Titans 6-11 0.0% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

That the Jaguars are projected to win the division is sensible. After all, they have a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Colts and possess a 4-1 divisional record, the best among the four teams within the AFC South. Plus, the Texans — who are arguably Jacksonville’s top challenger in the division — were weakened after losing Stroud to a concussion.

MORE: Latest injury updates on C.J. Stroud after he leaves game with head injury

It isn’t yet clear whether Stroud will be available to play for the Texans in Week 15 against the Titans. Houston may still be able to beat Tennessee with Davis Mills replacing the rookie phenom, but the Texans’ path to a playoff berth in the crowded AFC will be that much more difficult without Stroud.

As for the Colts, their remaining strength of schedule ranks 20th in the NFL, per Tankathon. That’s not too bad, but it’s worth noting that the Texans (23rd) and Jaguars (27th) have easier schedules than Indianapolis.

As such, it may be tougher for the Colts to get into the division race. Still, a win over the Steelers in Week 15 would go a long way toward giving them a leg up in the AFC’s crowded wild-card race.

So, with four weeks left in the NFL regular season, the AFC South will remain a three-horse race. But soon enough, one of the division’s top teams should separate itself from the pack.

Source : ESPN.com

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