By Keith Antigiovanni
The Houston Texans (7-3) are leading their division for the first time in the 10-year history of the franchise.Things were looking good after a 37-9 win over Tampa Bay until QB Matt Schaub injured his foot and will be out for the remainder of the regular season.
With Schaub out backup and former USC great Matt Leinart is going to get a second chance after coming into the NFL 6 years ago with much promise. Houston and Leinart will get an extra week to prepare for Jacksonville on November 27 with a much-needed bye week.
Houston will get WR Andre Johnson back and still has its strong run game lead by Arian Foster to take pressure off Leinart.
Meanwhile, Houston's former team, the Tennessee Titans (5-4) will have a chance to gain a half game in the standings when they travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons (5-4). The AFC South appears to be a two- team race and the Titans will be counting on the veteran leadership of QB Matt Hasselback to get them into the playoffs.
Jacksonville's Jaguars (3-6) will go to Cleveland and can also gain a half game with a win against the Browns to keep their playoff hopes alive. At this point the Jaguars are hoping QB Blaine Gabbert can continue to get playing experience and develop into a decent QB. Jacksonville will face Houston at home in a week.
The Indianapolis Colts (0-10) are also on a bye week after a disastrous season thus far without Peyton Manning. The Colts are in position to draft QB Andrew Luck but there is no excuse for this team playing as poor even without arguably the greatest QB ever.
The New Orleans (7-3) like their AFC South leading counterpart will have a bye this week after a big win in Atlanta. The Sains will face the New York Giants at home the following Monday night.
Atlanta Falcons (5-4) like their AFC South counterpart will have a chance to gain a half game when the Titans come to town. Falcons coach Mike Smith has had a tough week after a controversial decision at the end of the Saints game. Atlanta is 38-19 since Smith was hired so Falcons fans should give him the benefit of the doubt despite his foolish decision against New Orleans.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5) appear to be fading and have the misfortune of having to travel to Green Bay to face the undefeated Packers (9-0). Tampa's struggling offense will have a tough time trying to keep up with the prolific Packers offense.
The Carolina Panthers (2-7) were playing in every game until a poor performance against Tennessee. They go to Detroit to face the struggling Lions (6-3). QB Cam Newton is going thru the rookie growing pains and must continue to progress which means winning games.
AFC South since 2010:
NFC South since 2010:
Tampa bay 14-11