Key Matchups in the AFC South Entering Week 4 in the NFL
Denver Broncos at Tennessee Titans
Matchup: Tennessee Titans' quarterback Vince Young versus the Broncos secondary.
Young said this week that when it came to media covering the Titans, it was always, "Vince, Vince, Vince, Vince, Vince." Such is the nature of playing quarterback in the NFL, but when assessing Young this season he has been very efficient in two games – the opener against Oakland and this past week against the New York Giants. He wasn't nearly as efficient in Week 2, and that was when he was benched late in the fourth quarter by Titans' Head Coach Jeff Fisher. The Broncos feature one of the most experienced secondaries in the NFL, and while that group was burned for three touchdowns last week against the Colts, it took some remarkable plays/drives by quarterback Peyton Manning to allow Indianapolis to pull away. Young has improved this season, but he's not yet at Manning's level and working against the experience of the Broncos' defensive backs will be a tough challenge for Young.
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
Matchup: Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning versus the Jaguars' secondary.
If you're Jaguars' Head Coach Jack Del Rio, this match-up has to concern you. Actually, if you're involved with the Jaguars – particularly the secondary – it has to concern you, too. Del Rio said this week a big issue thus far this season has been a propensity to give up big passing plays, and that was particularly true this past Sunday, when Eagles' quarterback Michael Vick wasn't particularly consistent, but hit touchdown passes of 45 and 61 yards to Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson, respectively. Well, guess who's coming to town? Manning has had monster games in Jacksonville the last two years, completing 29 of 34 passes for 364 yards and three touchdowns with no interception two years ago and 23 of 30 for 308 yards and four touchdowns with one interception last season. Manning also is particularly dangerous early on the banks of the St. John's River. In his last two first halves in Jacksonville, he has completed 25 of 25 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns. Yes, 25 of 25.
Houston Texans at Oakland Raiders
Matchup: Texans' wide receiver Andre Johnson versus Raiders' cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.
If you're a football fan, you have to hope Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson is as close to as healthy as possible for this game. That's because you'd love him to be ready for what could be a match-up of the least-known big-time cornerback in the NFL versus the least-appreciated big-time receiver. And it's not a stretch to say these are the two best players at their positions in the NFL. Asomugha last week limited Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals to one reception, and his match-up this week may be equally difficult. While Fitzgerald is perhaps better known, no receiver in the NFL in recent seasons has been better than Johnson. The main issue regarding this match-up: Johnson sustained a high-ankle sprain two weeks ago against Washington, and re-aggravated it last week against Dallas. He likely will be a game-time decision, but that was his status last week before he played and started against the Cowboys.