Texans in control of AFC South with 3 games left

BY foxsports • December 14, 2016

HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Texans are in control of the AFC South at the moment.

But they know they can't let up with Tennessee and Indianapolis still in the hunt with three regular-season games remaining.

The Texans and the Titans are both 7-6, but Houston holds the tiebreaker with a perfect 4-0 mark in division play.

The Texans completed a season sweep of the Colts for the first time in franchise history on Sunday to leave Indianapolis one game back.

With everything on the line down the stretch, coach Bill O'Brien wants to make sure that his team is focused on just one thing this week.

"Jacksonville," he said. "That's it. Jacksonville. Everything that we're doing when they come into the meeting on Wednesday will be about the Jacksonville Jaguars."

O'Brien also knows that his team can't take the Jaguars lightly despite their 2-11 record and eight-game skid.

"Jacksonville is not easy. I don't care what their record is," O'Brien said. "I just got done watching a few hours of tape. They've got a lot of good players, guys that can run. It's going to be a very tough game."

Two of Houston's three remaining games are within the division, which could be a good thing for the Texans who look to win the AFC South for the second straight season.

They've won nine straight in the AFC South, which is the second-longest division winning streak in the NFL. They'll host the Bengals on Christmas Eve before wrapping up the season at Tennessee.

"These divisional games are very difficult," O'Brien said. "Give our players a lot of credit, they've played well in the division lately, but it needs to continue on Sunday."

Houston beat the Colts on Sunday with a big day by running back Lamar Miller and strong defensive play. Miller ran for 107 yards and a touchdown to reach 1,000 yards for the second time in his career and the defense forced three turnovers.

But the game wasn't without problems. The Texans came away with just one touchdown in five trips into the red zone, settling for field goals four other times.

"There's just some things as a team and as an offense that we need to do better, and everybody's involved, it's 11 guys and the coaching staff," O'Brien said.

"Whether it's a scheme or the execution or whatever it is we've all got to do a better job. We've got to improve in that area if we really want to be where we want to end up being. We can't be 1 for 5 in the red area. I think everybody understands that."

Perhaps the biggest bright spot of Sunday's win was the play of Jadeveon Clowney , who returned after sitting out last week with wrist and elbow injuries.

The top overall pick in the 2014 draft had a strip-sack of Andrew Luck late in the third quarter and helped cause an interception earlier in the quarter when Luck threw under heavy pressure from the defensive end.

"He plays very hard. He's been disruptive," O'Brien said. "I know a lot of people talk about that that was the best game and the most important play -- and it was a great play that he made on the strip-sack, but there were so many other plays that he made in the game that were good, too."

The Texans have finished 9-7 in each of O'Brien's first two seasons and he believes that the experience of being in the playoff race in the past will help his team this season.

He also wants his players to know that he's there to help them improve each week.

"My role is to make sure that these guys know that ... we're all in it together and we're all working very hard for the same common goal," he said.

"We're 4-0 in the division and we've got a great opportunity in front of us, so it's my job to make sure ... that I show up with energy every day and try to do as good a job as I can of pointing them in the right direction."

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