Texans (8-1) @ Bears (7-2) 

Final Score: 13-6

The Impact:  Each of these two teams has been a Super Bowl favorite for their own conference, but neither of them had yet to face off with another serious contender. This primetime match up showed us exactly where each team stands. The Texans defeated the Bears in the game that suited the Bears in every way from the murky weather, to the home-field advantage.  The Texans defense shined in a muddy defensive battle that proved they are for real.

By The Numbers!  

  • The Texans created four turnovers in the first half. Two interceptions via Jay Cutler and two fumbles, one from running back Michael Bush, the other from tight end Kellen Davis. The Texans boasted a +8 turnover differential coming into Sunday night’s game. That number is now at +10 tying them with the Falcons for the fifth best turnover differential in the league.
  • That defense has gone two consecutive weeks without allowing their opponents into the end zone. Last week the Bills scored just 9 points, which made the Bears grand total of 6 look even more putrid. The Texans have allowed a total of 143 points on the season.  With 107 net points, they trail only the Bears (109.)
  • Arian Foster rushed for 102 yards on 29 carries. He averaged 3.5 yards per carry, but that is not necessarily what we need to take from this game. What we need to note, is that the Texans are not the slightest bit afraid to run the ball. Between Foster’s 29 and Justin Forsett’s 4 carries, the Texans rushed the ball 33 times. The Bears had faced a league-low 163 rushing attempts through 8 games, or just 20 attempts per game.
  • Matt Schaub attempted 26 passes on the day, completing 14 of them for 95 yards. Schaub threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Foster midway through the second quarter. The first half was not all good news though. He tossed up two picks as well. The offense was unable to get much of anything going through the air. Andre Johnson highlighted the team’s aerial attack as he pulled in 4 balls for a team-high 35 yards.

Colts (6-3) @ Jaguars (1-8)

Final Score: 27-10

The Impact: The Colts were able to pull out another win, this time against the Jaguars. This is the first comfortable win of the season for Indianapolis. Five victories had all come by a margin of six points or less. The 17-point victory was a huge change of pace for the young Colts team. Despite a mediocre showing from Andrew Luck, the Colts would send Jaguar fans home early in this divisional bout.

By The Numbers!

  • Andrew Luck completed 18 of 26 passes for 227 yards and one interception. The showing was good enough, but hardly a shining performance compared to last week’s huge game. Luck did gain two touchdowns on the ground, bringing his season total to five. Reggie Wayne was Luck’s favorite target this week with eight receptions for 96 yards. Luck had some help this week though.
  • Defensive back Darius Butler, in his first start of the season, recovered three turnovers. His performance matched the Colts’ previous season-total of takeaways. One of his two interceptions resulted in a touchdown. The second, late in the fourth, led to Luck and the offense taking the field in victory formation. Butler recovered a fumble as well, which led to Luck rushing touchdown.
  • Blaine Gabbert completed 18 of 31 passes for 209 yards and one interception, nearly mirroring Luck before going out of the game with a shoulder injury.  Chad Henne, in a pleasantly surprising fill-in performance, completed 10 of 16 with one touchdown and one pick. Justin Blackmon, yet again, was disappointing with just three receptions for a total of 25 yards on the day. Cecil Shorts stole the spotlight with 6 receptions for 105 yards. This was his second 100-yard performance of the season.
  • The Jaguars were penalized 10 times for 115 yards. The yardage alone is enough to lose a game, but the Jaguars also lost a would-be interception after a roughing-the-passer call. Penalties, many of them completely needless, kept the Jaguars from having any chance in this game. Head Coach Mike Mularkey threw his headset and playbook after the booth, he felt, missed a fourth-and-goal touchdown credited to Luck on a quarter back sneak.

Titans (4-6) @ Dolphins (4-5)

Final Score: 37-3

The Impact:

The Titans managed to bounce back after a huge 51-20 loss to the Bears one week ago. They scored 37 points, caused four turnovers, and rushed for nearly 200 yards. This was a bounce-back win if there has ever been one. Jake Locker made a return to the field, and if nothing else, avoided making any detrimental mistakes.

By The Numbers!

  • Locker completed nine of 21 pass attempts. Locker’s two touchdown passes tied his season-high. Though he has been in and out of the lineup, Locker has put together a strong stat line when he is on the field. He has completed 63% of his passes, along with a solid 90.2 passer rating. If Locker is able to stay healthy, which might require that he change his playing style, he can be the quarterback of the future in Tennessee.
  • The Titans’ running back, who has slightly less to prove, rushed for 126 yards on 23 attempts. Chris Johnson had yet another big game. It is safe to say that he is back, from whatever he was gone too. He has managed big plays, and big overall performances in four consecutive weeks.
  • The Titan defense though, they set made the biggest plays of the day. Jason McCourty recovered a Reggie Bush fumble that led to Titan points.  Colin McCarthy ran a Tannehill interception to the house. They created four turnovers on the day, three total interceptions and the Bush fumble. If the defense is able to play at this level, the Titans will have a promising home-stretch in this 2012 season. Locker is back, perhaps to stay and Johnson is playing as well as he has all year. Everything is coming together in Tennessee under head coach Mike Munchak.

Standings (record) [Next opponent]

1. Houston Texans (8-1-0) [vs. Jacksonville}

2. Indianapolis Colts (6-3-0) [@ New England]

3. Tennessee Titans (4-6-0) BYE WEEK

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8-0) [@ Houston]