Bears hire Pagano as defensive coordinator to replace Fangio
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears rode a dominant defense to the NFC North championship in a breakout season. They hope to keep it going with a new coordinator.
The Bears hired former Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano to replace Vic Fangio on Friday, hoping he can help them build on what they accomplished this season.
Texans, Colts meet in playoffs after turning around seasons
HOUSTON (AP) — Saturday's wild-card game between the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts is a matchup that seemed improbable early this season after Houston dropped its first three games and the Colts limped to a 1-5 start.
Instead of letting their tough starts lead to disappointing years, these teams which both finished 4-12 last season turned things around to lead the AFC South and charge into the postseason.
Healthy Watt and Watson lead Texans into playoffs
HOUSTON (AP) — Last year at this time, Houston's J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson were rehabbing after serious injuries cut both of their seasons short and contributed to the Texans' terrible 4-12 season.
Healthy and thriving this season, the stars lead the AFC South champion Texans into Saturday's wild-card game against Indianapolis.
"We talked about times like this when we were in the training room, what we wanted to accomplish and what we were working toward," Watt said.
Colts earn playoff spot; Luck remains perfect vs. Titans
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Indianapolis Colts have Andrew Luck healthy and throwing the ball all over the field.
That's more than enough with an injured Marcus Mariota stuck watching from the Tennessee sideline.
Luck threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns and the Colts beat the Titans 33-17 on Sunday night for the final spot in the postseason as the AFC's No. 6 seed.
Jaguars keeping Marrone, Caldwell despite AFC South flop
HOUSTON (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell will return next season.
The futures of quarterback Blake Bortles and running back Leonard Fournette are far less certain.
Team owner Shad Khan issued a statement after the season finale saying top executive Tom Coughlin has decided to retain Marrone and Caldwell, even though the team flopped to last place in the AFC South.
Texans clinch AFC South title with 20-3 win over Jaguars
HOUSTON (AP) — After the Houston Texans fell to 0-3 with a loss at home to the New York Giants on Sept. 23, they appeared to be headed for a second straight losing season.
Instead, the Texans (11-5) won their next nine games and 11 of their last 13, capped by Sunday's 20-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, to clinch the AFC South title.
Plenty of playoff implications going into Week 17
There are plenty of playoff implications heading into the final day of the NFL's regular season on Sunday.
Already in the playoffs, the Texans need a win over the Jaguars to clinch the AFC South.
In Kansas City, the Chiefs need a win over Oakland to clinch the AFC West and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
Wild and crazy season ends with lots of playoff uncertainty
In a wild and crazy season, the biggest remaining tumult is in the AFC South.
Houston leads and takes the division title by beating struggling Jacksonville. A Texans loss, however, gives the winner of the prime-time game between the Colts and Titans in Nashville the crown, dropping Houston into a wild card.
No glamour teams in prime time as season concludes Sunday
The 2018 regular season will conclude in Music City on Sunday night, where the Colts and Titans will play for a wild-card playoff berth. Or maybe more.
The winner between these 9-6 teams makes the playoffs. Should Houston (10-5) fall at home to Jacksonville (5-10), the Indianapolis-Tennessee victor earns the AFC South title.
That's why two of the NFL's more interesting but less glamorous teams were flexed to prime time.
Texans need win against Jags to clinch division
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans are already in the playoffs but need a win against Jacksonville on Sunday to clinch the AFC South and have a chance for a first-round bye.
"That's the main thing we're thinking about is clinching this division, nothing else," receiver DeAndre Hopkins said. "In order for us to get to where we want to get we've got to win this game."
Texans clinch; look to improve as they chase division title
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans were on a plane returning from their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday when they learned that Pittsburgh's loss to New Orleans had clinched their spot in the playoffs.
And according to coach Bill O'Brien the team did nothing to celebrate the moment.
"We were all watching the film, and just trying to be as honest as I can with you, there's was no reaction," O'Brien said.
Column: Winners, losers heading into last week of NFL season
Winners and Losers.
The big winners in Week 16 were the Saints , Patriots, Cowboys , Seahawks and Ravens. The big losers were the Steelers, Dolphins, Chiefs and Texans.
Eagles stay alive with 32-30 win over Texans
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Nick Foles ran back onto the field after a hard shot knocked him out for a play and the crowd roared, seemingly knowing he was about to do it again.
Jake Elliott kicked a 35-yard field goal as time expired after Foles led the offense into position and the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Houston Texans 32-30 Sunday to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Titans-Colts game flexed into prime time on NBC
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL has moved next week's Titans-Colts game into prime time on NBC.
Both AFC South teams are 9-6 and the winner of the regular-season finale will reach the playoffs.
The Colts won the first meeting 38-10 in Week 11 in Indianapolis.
Texans lose to Eagles 32-30, lose control of No. 2 seed
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Deshaun Watson made one big play after another to rally the Houston Texans back from a 13-point deficit to take the lead only to watch the defense let it slip away.
The Texans missed an opportunity to clinch the AFC South and lost control of the No. 2 seed when Jake Elliott kicked a 35-yard field goal as time expired to give the Philadelphia Eagles a 32-30 victory on Sunday.
Patriots, Texans, Cowboys, Chiefs can win divisions Sunday
It's Week 16 of the NFL schedule, which always means several teams can secure playoff berths.
New Orleans, Kansas City, Chicago and the Los Angeles Chargers already have qualified.
New England wins its 10th successive AFC East title with a victory or tie at home against Buffalo, or Miami losing or drawing with Jacksonville.
Houston takes the AFC South by beating the Eagles in Philadelphia. It earns at least a wild-card spot with a Pittsburgh loss at New Orleans.
Hopkins’ great hands have Texans on verge of AFC South title
HOUSTON (AP) — DeAndre Hopkins believes if a ball comes near him he should catch it.
"That's been my mindset since I've been playing football," he said. "Defense, offense, basketball as well, the ball's in the air, it's mine."
That belief has led to some amazing catches, and lately he seems to make at least one a game. All of which has helped the Texans turn around their season and leave them one win from clinching the AFC South.
- Star TribuneFive NFL Week 11 story linesNovember 18, 2018
- Norfolk Daily NewsTexans reportedly set to trade for Broncos WR Demaryius ThomasOctober 31, 2018
- Norfolk Daily NewsJaguars drop fourth straight, can’t contain Eagles in LondonOctober 29, 2018
- Norfolk Daily NewsTrue Turnover table, Week 7: Why are the Jaguars struggling? This number says it allOctober 25, 2018
Bears, Texans give last-place teams hope for 2019
There's hope in 2019 for the Jaguars, Raiders, Giants and other teams who will finish last in the division this year.
The Chicago Bears (10-4) already won the NFC North to complete a worst-to-first turnaround, and the Houston Texans (10-4) are on the verge of securing the AFC South to become the second team to do it this season.
Texans look ahead to bigger goals after reaching 10 wins
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans moved closer to clinching the AFC South by bouncing back from last week's loss with a win over the Jets.
Now they'll try to get banged-up players DeAndre Hopkins and Lamar Miller healthy before visiting the Super Bowl champion Eagles next week. A win could leave open the possibility of getting a first-round playoff bye.
Late penalty helps Colts snap Texans’ 9-game winning streak
HOUSTON (AP) — With two minutes remaining, the Houston Texans down 24-21 to the Indianapolis Colts and needing a critical stop at midfield on third-and-1, Andrew Luck tried and tried to draw the Texans offside.
With the play clock dwindling and the Colts facing having to burn a timeout, Luck gave it one last try.
Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney took the bait.
Colts snap Texans’ 9-game winning streak with 24-21 win
HOUSTON (AP) — Indianapolis receiver T.Y. Hilton missed multiple practices with a shoulder injury in the week leading up to Sunday's trip to NRG Stadium for a critical AFC South matchup. The Colts said his status was up in the air.
Hilton knew he couldn't possibly miss a game at a place where he's had more success than any receiver since the stadium opened in 2002.
Jaguars-Titans should be a defensive standoff
Jacksonville won the AFC South and Tennessee earned a wild-card playoff berth out of the division last season.
Now, they get the prime-time spotlight on Thursday even though both are also-rans.
Oh, the Titans (6-6) still are in the playoff chase. But it's difficult to take serious a team that needs a late rally to beat the Jets.
Titans desperate to keep playoff hopes alive against Jaguars
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars already have fallen quickly, from being a win away from their first Super Bowl berth in January to last in the AFC South in December.
The Tennessee Titans desperately want to avoid joining them as a one-and-done playoff team, especially after sweeping the Jaguars last season.
Jaguars’ Fournette returns after another extended rest
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Leonard Fournette's one-game suspension might turn out to be beneficial for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Texans get 9th straight win, 29-13, win over Browns
HOUSTON (AP) — After the Houston Texans extended their franchise record with a ninth straight win on Sunday, J.J. Watt was asked to reflect on how far the team has come in the past year.
"I was on the couch a year ago so this is a lot better," said Watt, who missed the last 11 games of Houston's 4-12 2017 season with a broken leg. "I was in a lot of pain. So it's good for us to be winning ... this is what it's supposed to feel like. Honestly this is how you dream it up."
Column: Keys to turnarounds for Seahawks, Colts and Texans
Turn back the clock to September. What do you see if you root for the Colts, Texans and Seahawks?
Rematch between hot Colts, cold Jaguars looks like mismatch
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — This season's first AFC South rematch looks like a mismatch.
The surging Indianapolis Colts have averaged a little more than 33 points over their last eight games while the reeling Jacksonville Jaguars have topped 21 points once in the last two months. The Colts (6-5) have won five straight since a less-than-ideal start. The Jaguars (3-8) have dropped seven in a row since thumping the New York Jets to end the season's opening quarter.
Margin for error gone, Titans hope to start run vs. NY Jets
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans' margin for error is gone, and earning a second straight playoff berth will require finishing this season with a winning flourish.
The Titans (5-6) blew hopes of the franchise's first AFC South title in a decade by losing two straight inside the division to cap a stretch of five losses in seven games. Linebacker Wesley Woodyard says the Titans' backs are against the wall now.
Not that simple: Titans focus on trying to win a game
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Titans' playoff hopes are slim at best after losing five of their last seven games. So Tennessee's focus for December is simple. And desperate.
"Try to find a way to win a game. Put our full focus on the Jets," first-year head coach Mike Vrabel said Tuesday.
Houston Texans founder and owner McNair dies
HOUSTON (AP) — Robert "Bob" McNair, billionaire founder and owner of the Houston Texans, has died. He was 81.
One of the NFL's most influential owners, McNair had battled both leukemia and squamous cell carcinoma in recent years before dying in Houston on Friday. The team did not immediately release a cause of death, but says he died peacefully with his wife Janice and his family by his side.
Titans QB Mariota practices, likely to start against Texans
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota fully participated in Friday's practice and is expected to start Monday night's road game against the AFC South-leading Houston Texans.
Titans-Texans Preview Capsule
TENNESSEE (5-5) at HOUSTON (7-3)
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
OPENING LINE - OFF
RECORD VS. SPREAD - Tennessee 6-4, Houston 4-6
SERIES RECORD - Titans lead 18-15
LAST MEETING - Titans beat Texans 20-17, Sept. 16
LAST WEEK - Titans lost to Colts 38-10; Texans beat Redskins 23-21
AP PRO32 RANKING - Titans No. 17, Texans No. 7
TITANS OFFENSE - OVERALL (30), RUSH (15), PASS (30).
TITANS DEFENSE - OVERALL (9), RUSH (11), PASS (9).
TEXANS OFFENSE - OVERALL (13), RUSH (11), PASS (19).
Texans look to push streak to franchise-record 8 games
HOUSTON (AP) — The Texans became the first team since 1925 to win seven straight after starting 0-3 with a victory over Washington on Sunday.
They go for a franchise record for consecutive wins when they host AFC South rival Tennessee next Monday night. Despite their streak, they know that they have plenty more work to do to get to where they want to be.
Red-hot Texans visit Redskins in meeting of division leaders
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Jay Gruden occasionally has to remind people his team is in 6-3 and in first place.
"That's a heck of deal after nine games," the Washington Redskins' coach said. "But I'm also excited with the fact that we have not played our best yet, and I think the best is yet to come."
Texans-Redskins Preview Capsule
HOUSTON (6-3) at WASHINGTON (6-3)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
OPENING LINE — Redskins by 1
RECORD VS. SPREAD — Texans 4-5, Redskins 6-3
SERIES RECORD — Tied 2-2
LAST MEETING —Texans beat Redskins 17-6, Sept. 7, 2014
LAST WEEK — Texans had bye, beat Broncos 19-17 on Nov 4; Redskins beat Buccaneers 16-3
AP PRO32 RANKING —Texans No. 9, Redskins No. 11
TEXANS OFFENSE — OVERALL (14), RUSH (11), PASS (18)
TEXANS DEFENSE — OVERALL (9), RUSH (6), PASS (16)
REDSKINS OFFENSE - OVERALL (26), RUSH (10), PASS (25)
Redskins’ home-field disadvantage in spotlight vs Texans
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Home sweet home? Not so much for Redskins players right now.
Even though Washington has won three of five home games this season and leads the NFC East, cornerback Josh Norman called out Redskins fans in the aftermath of an ugly victory at Tampa Bay and said he felt they played better on the road. In the process, he put the spotlight on the atmosphere Sunday at FedEx Field when the AFC South-leading Houston Texans come to town.
Mistake-prone Jags seeking solutions after 5th straight loss
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey had plenty to say this summer.
Now that the temperatures are cooling, Ramsey seems to be toning down the rhetoric.
Colts’ revamped line studies hard for test against Jaguars
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indianapolis Colts spent their offseason cramming for Sunday's test.
They understood that to ascend in the AFC South, they needed a bigger, stronger offensive line, better coaching and different study habits. So far, they've aced it.
Now they face their biggest challenge: Jacksonville's daunting defense.
Texans shake off terrible start with 6-game winning streak
HOUSTON (AP) — Ask Jadeveon Clowney how the Houston Texans turned around their season by winning six straight games after an 0-3 start and the hulking defensive end breaks into song.
"Started from the bottom now we're here," he bellows. "Started from the bottom now the whole team here."
While the 2013 Drake tune is a little old to be the team's anthem, the sentiment of the song couldn't be more fitting for these Texans.
Floundering Jaguars take ‘must-win’ approach against Colts
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars used their bye week to ponder the team's precarious position.
Mired in a four-game losing streak and being 0-2 in the AFC South, they came to this conclusion: They must win at division rival Indianapolis (3-5) on Sunday.
It's essentially a playoff atmosphere for Jacksonville (3-5) in early November.
Texans roll to sixth straight win entering bye week
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans have won six straight games for the first time since 2012, leaving their terrible start behind them and putting them firmly in control of the AFC South as they head into their week off.
Despite the dramatic turnaround, coach Bill O'Brien and the Texans (6-3) know that they haven't accomplished anything yet.
"We've done a great job of coming back from where we were," O'Brien said. "But we've got a long way to go."
ICYMI in NFL Week 8: Jaguars falling apart, on and off field
Whether it's a quartet of players getting arrested for failing to pay a tab at a British nightclub or a locker-room spat or a four-game losing streak, things couldn't get much worse for the Jacksonville Jaguars at the moment — on the field or off it.
Titans trying to back up aggressive rookie coach Mike Vrabel
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Vrabel has made it very clear he wants the Tennessee Titans to play fast and aggressive, and that's exactly how the rookie head coach operates.
Now he just needs the Titans to do a better job of having their coach's back.
Miami’s Osweiler faces team that let him go in Texans
HOUSTON (AP) — When the Texans host the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night it will be a matchup of Houston's quarterback of the future in Deshaun Watson and one of the many failed quarterbacks of the team's past in Brock Osweiler.
It will be Osweiler's third straight start in place of Ryan Tannehill, who is out with a shoulder injury.
Vrabel, Titans working to fix issues before breaking for bye
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans will not be escaping quickly now that they're back from London and mired in a three-game skid.
First-year head coach Mike Vrabel wants to look closely at what the Titans (3-4) must fix to snap that skid that cost them the lead in the AFC South for a franchise that hasn't won its division since 2008. The Titans also get a little bit more time around their bye with their next game not until Nov. 5 in prime-time at Dallas.
Texans have quick turnaround as they look to stay on a roll
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans have put their 0-3 start behind them, winning four straight games capped by Sunday's victory over the Jaguars to move into first place in the AFC South.
But they won't have much time to celebrate their recent success with the Dolphins coming to town on Thursday night.
Bortles benched, Jaguars implode after 20-7 loss to Texans
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Blake Bortles is no longer Jacksonville's starting quarterback.
Whether he regains the job in the next week is anybody's guess.
Bortles fumbled on the team's third play of each half, leading to 10 points and his benching in a 20-7 loss to AFC South rival Houston on Sunday.
Jaguars implode in locker room after latest lopsided loss
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The doors opened briefly and closed a few seconds later, but the glimpse into Jacksonville's locker room told the story of the team's third consecutive loss.
Calais Campbell was holding back fellow defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, a carry-over from the screaming, shouting and finger pointing that ensued after a 20-7 loss to AFC South rival Houston (4-3) on Sunday.
Jaguars trying to straighten out turnovers against Texans
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Of all the things that went right for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017, turnovers were at the top of the list.
The Jaguars took care of the ball, especially in the postseason, and ranked second in the league with 33 takeaways. They finished the regular season at plus-10 in turnover margin, tied for fifth in the NFL.