AFC South season predictions
Thought I would try to get something going on here, so Im going to put my predictions on how the South will play out.
I'm not just being a homer here. I really feel this is the year the Texans overtake the Colts. The Colts seem to have a lot of questionable areas, but as long as 18 is around they will have a winning season. If the Titans didnt sign Hasselback I would of put them with a losing record, but I really liked that signing, didnt like that they let Babin walk. Jags will lose Del Rio after the season.
I would like to see others predictions.
Assuming Manning is out for the season, this is what I'm seeing:
I'm pretty certain that Houston will be the best team and the AFC South representative in the playoffs. We all know the offense is good, especially after Foster broke out last year. But the defense was focused on heavily this offseason. New DC in Wade Phillips, who is an amazing coordinator, drafted defenders at each level of the defense with their first 3 draft picks, all of which suited their new 3-4 scheme, and brought in CB Jonathan Joseph and S Daniel Manning to shore up a poor secondary. There'll undoubtedly be some bumps along the way with a new scheme, and some players have to improve or prove themselves to begin with, but I think this is the year that the Houston hype lives up to expectations.
Tennessee will be a blue-collar 8-8 team, but if Hasselbeck plays well (which I think he'll be better behind the Titans OL, with CJ to hand off to, and Britt throw it up to, which is a much better situation than he was in in Seattle), then I could see a winning team. New DC Jerry Gray has already made his mark on the defense, bringing in new players, moving current players around, and letting go of guys who didn't fit his scheme. The DL is bigger (former DT Jason Jones is now starting at LE), the LB's are more aggressive, and they're moving the DB's around to put them in the best position to make plays. I think it goes from bottom of the barrel under Chuck Cecil to league average under Gray.
I see J'Ville as a similar team to the Titans. Run heavy offense with game managing QB, and blue-collar 4-3 defense. But, I think the Titans are slightly better, especially on offense. I'm fine with letting go of Garrard, but I don't think McKown is a guy you stick with for 16 games, so I expect Gabbert to enter the fold by the end of the year. Lewis is a good TE and Mike Thomas is a good Z WR, but I'm not sure Jason Hill is a starting caliber WR, Cecil Shorts is just a rookie, and I don't think they have a true #1 WR (unless Thomas can blow up now that he has a QB who can throw a deep ball). They're gonna be able to stop the run after adding Roth to the current DL of Alualu-Knighton-Kampman, plus Poz at MIKE, but I worry about their pass-rush with only Alualu and Kampman as the capable pass-rushers on the DL. But the OLB's are average, and the secondary is still a worry, although I liked the Dawan Landry signing. I think they'll be competitive in every game, but don't quite have the pieces to win the close games.
If Manning can come back halfway through the year, then I could see them getting to 6 wins. But the team is built around Manning, even the defense. It's all on him, so bringing in a guy like Collins, who crumbles when it's all on him, is a disaster waiting to happen. The defense is built to play with a lead, and the offense has a suspect OL and had a nonexistant run game last year, so playing ball-control will be difficult. But if they can manage to get to, say, .500, then Jim Caldwell deserves Coach of the Year.
MVP: Matt Shaub, QB, Houston
OPotY: Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee
DPotY: Dwight Freeney, DE, Indianapolis
ORotY: Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville/Anthony Castonzo, OT, Indianapolis
DRotY: Akeem Ayers, LB, Tennessee
Breakout Player: Jared Cook, TE, Tennessee
Comeback Player: Mario Williams, OLB, Houston
Coach of the Year: Gary Kubiak, Houston
I see it about the same as TH. I think the Colts will luck into a win or two. Three is a little much for me at this point.
I made my predictions before Manning was ruled out. There is no team that depends so much on one player like the Colts do. If he doesnt play this year, they will be lucky to win 2 games.
The jags will be better than that, come on, we upgraded our defense which lost us alot of games last year a ton, how do we get that much worse?
But the NFL has become a QB based offensive league, and the Jags offense is best suited to be run-first with a game manager at QB. The WR talent isn't there and Gabbert is a rookie while McKown probably shouldn't be a starter in the NFL. So you have a defense that has a great run-stuffing personnel but is succeptable to the pass, and an offense that has a great RB but poor passing personnel at the moment. I'm not sure that lends itself to more than a 6-10 to 8-8 record.
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