When I think of the AFC South, home to the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans & Houston Texans, I think of a division often belittled for having a lack of competitiveness.
This may be true to some extent with the Colts dominance in this division since 2002, but for the past 4-5 years they haven’t had it all there own way. The Texans have emerged as the main challenger to their crown with recent division wins, that most recent win being last season with the Texans winning it on the final game of the regular at home to the Jags. That being said just because these to have been the winners it doesn’t mean the other two teams are non-runners. In their history the Titans have just lost out on a Super Bowl win and although the Jags are yet to win the division they have placed second quite a number of times.
I believe this division this season can be quite an exciting one to watch and I will tell you why.
The Jaguars have been a very impressive team under Gus Bradley as he has assembled a team that enjoys playing together. You only have to look at the end of last season to see this by the way they started performing by putting up huge numbers and points in certain games.
I believe the Jags will make a big push this season with their very talented offensive weapons which include names like Bortles (QB), Robinson(WR), Hurns (WR) and Yeldon (RB) if they keep these guys healthy all year than they can make a serious impact especially in those all important Divisional match ups, like the game vs the Colts at Wembley.
They will need to use the Draft though to Bolster the Defense this off season, with Paul Pusluzny now 32 he has gone from being very solid to a liability in certain situations so to draft some decent defensive prospects would be a smart move in my book. This mindset can be see by what the Jags have already done in free agency with the signing of Tashaun Gipson (S) formerly of the Browns and Prince Amakamura (CB) formerly of the Giants, both these signings go to show defense is a priority.
Other moves that we can see to be big for this team is the probable reluctant move to replace Luke Joeckel on the Blindside of the OL a high draft pick in his time he struggled last year with the Jags surrendering the third most sacks last season, granted they all weren’t from his side but the majority was. The solution to this could be the signing of Kelvin Beachum (OT) from the Steelers. He will be tasked with keeping Quarterback Blake Bortles upright and if he does then the Jags could have themselves a winning season.
Where to start with the Titans? well as we all know they were the worst team in the NFL last season so with that held the Number 1 pick in this years draft, this being the best part of being last place. The Titans though used this place to make big news this off season by trading that pick to the newly named LA Rams and dropped from 1st to 15th with a whole lot of other picks that went their way in this trade, it doesn’t stop there if the rumors are to be believed then the Titans could be looking to trade back up into the top 10.
I hope all this hype around these trade moves do not detract to much away from them improving the team though or i hope they haven’t lost out to heavily in key personal from the draft, yeah its nice to have lots of picks but quality over quantity goes along way as this team needs people in a lot of areas but they need good players not average.
The Titans do have a very capable QB in Mariota who is still recovering from a very painful debut season. The kid has talent and like most teams if they can keep him upright and protect him better then he will do amazing things for this Franchise. His burden will hopefully have been eased with the arrival of DeMarco Murray (RB) who didn’t enjoy to much success in Philly who will be eager to prove his worth, as we all know from his time in Dallas he can bear the load as RB, the other plus was he chose to come to the Titans which means he is motivated which could have teams defenses on the back foot when he come to town.
This is most likely another rebuild year for the Titans but I believe they will be confident in their abilities and will look to improve on last seasons dismal display.
I won’t lie I am not a Colts fan whatsoever, but I promise to be as unbiased as I can be. I have had to do a little more research on the Colts as I have found them lacking in activity this off-season.
I personally think though that their number 1 goal will be getting that Andrew Luck lead offense firing on all cylinders again, this means strengthening up that offensive line as they did a poor job protecting their QB’s last season this resulting in numerous injuries for all their QB’s. If luck stays healthy and with his eyes down the field the Colts are a very tough team to beat so Draft options may see them picking up OL and also WR to give him targets.
That leads me to a few issues facing the Colts, they have (or had) a few ageing stars with Andre Johnson(WR) and Frank Gore(RB) Johnson signed last season in what can only be seen as a revenge signing after the Texans released him. He was a good fit for the Colts but with a season lacking productivity they to have parted ways with Johnson.
Frank Gore also has a lot of miles on the tires so this makes you wander is he the guy to carry the ground game for them or is this also a position the Colts need to address in the draft.
One thing that is certain is that Chuck Pagano needs to get his team back to the top and fast and if he doesn’t then the biggest item on the shopping list for the Colts could be a new Head Coach.
Now this should be easy the Texans have went big this off-season as we have all seen reported on various news outlets.
The free agency signing of Brock Osweiler from the Broncos was a big coo as he was the guy to take the reigns after Peyton retired but that was yesterday and today he stands as the Texans QB. I know we paid a lot of money for a guy with 7 starts under his belt but we needed to make a statement and I think we did that.
Another huge signing was Lamarr Miller (RB) a former dolphin. With the release of our record setting RB Arian Foster after a few injury prone seasons and a poor ground game last year we got Miller in to lead our ground game, he posted some impressive numbers and with a team as focused on the run as ours he should make a good fit to our offense. We have also made a few changes to our OL with the release and loss of some starters but we quickly filled those holes with some more free agency signings, that isn’t to say that we cannot improve the OL even more through drafts and other signings.
When it comes to the draft though I think priority number one for us is a Tight End! we have been very poor at this position since the departure of fan favorite Owen Daniel’s a couple of years ago and we really need this part of our game to improve quickly, so don’t be surprised that when the Texans are on the clock and Hunter Henry is still on the board that he ends up making his way to H-town.
The other position we may need to address is deep defensively. Last season time and again we were burned by the deep bomb so we may look at defensive backs. All in all though I think the Texans will try and go big in the draft as the Super Bowl is in our stadium this year and who wouldn’t want to sell their soul to win a home field SB.
I think on the whole things are looking up in the AFC South this season and it may be one of the best seasons we have seen down there. One thing I am sure of is I can’t wait for the season to start.