With Jaguars, Colts, and Texans fighting for AFC South, who has the toughest path?

The Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans are only one game behind the Jacksonville Jaguars. With the division open, who has the toughest remaining schedule?
Indianapolis Colts v Jacksonville Jaguars
Indianapolis Colts v Jacksonville Jaguars / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Entering the season, the Jacksonville Jaguars were expected to run away with the AFC South. In 2022, Jacksonville had a surprising year and took the division away from the Tennessee Titans, but they weren’t sneaking up on anyone in 2023. It was clear that Tennessee would regress and it seemed like the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans were at the beginning of rebuilds.

Now, with just four weeks left in the regular season, all of the experts had the AFC South wrong. Everyone was right about the Titans, they regressed significantly, currently last in the divide with a 5-8 record. The 8-5 Jaguars are also leading the division like many expected. However, they aren’t running away with the division, and with four games left, it’s possible that the AFC South could go to another team.

AFC South is wide open with four games left

The surprises of the division are the Colts and Texans. Both teams are currently 7-6, just one game behind Jacksonville, heading into Week 15. First-year head coaches Shane Steichen and DeMeco Ryans have done a phenomenal job at turning their teams around. Depending on how the teams perform in the final four games, they could be in the playoffs and possibly in as a division champion.

It will all come down to how each team fares in the final four games, so let’s take a lot at the remaining schedule for each team.

Jaguars: Ravens, @ Buccaneers, Panthers, @ Titans
Colts: Steelers, @ Falcons, Raiders, Texans
Texans: @ Titans, Browns, Titans, @ Colts

Based on opponents’ records, none of the three remaining schedules are all that tough, however, Houston and Indy technically have significantly tougher schedules than Jacksonville.

Colts and Texans have tougher remaining schedule than Jaguars

Indy’s final four opponents have a combined record of 25-27, giving them a .481 winning percentage. Houston’s opponents have a combined record of 25-27 as well, giving them the same .481 winning percentage. Jacksonville’s opponents, on the other hand, have a combined record of 22-30, giving them a .423 winning percentage.

If we were to base everything on this, it looks like the the Jaguars will be able to hold on to their division lead and actually win the AFC South. However, sports are more than numbers and anything could happen. For example, Indy’s next opponent is a 7-6 Steelers team. Despite Pittsburgh having seven wins, the team is currently playing really bad football.

So in the end, the games will have to be played, and we’ll have to see where everything stands in four weeks.