2010 NFL Preview: AFC South

2009: Indianapolis Colts, 14-2
2008: Tennessee Titans, 13-3
2007: Indianapolis Colts, 13-3
2006: Indianapolis Colts, 12-4
2005: Indianapolis Colts, 14-2
2004: Indianapolis Colts, 12-4
2003: Indianapolis Colts, 12-4
2002: Tennessee Titans, 11-5

The Colts have won an unprecedented 12 or more games every year since 2003. More evidence that Peyton Manning is the best quarterback in NFL history. The Colts also have a Super Bowl title and another appearance to show for the division. The Titans managed to steal a couple division titles through the decade, but for the most part, the Colts have owned the South since it's inception. The Jaguars threatened a couple times, and the Texans finally had a winning record for the first time in their history in 2009.

1. Indianapolis Colts, 13-3. There are few things certain in the NFL. Injuries, coaching changes, free agency can tear apart dynasties and rebuild new ones overnight. But all throughout the decade the surest thing in the NFL has been the Colts winning at least 12 games and contending for a Super Bowl title. And that is mostly due to #18. Like I said above, I think he is the best quarterback in NFL history. He is a coach on the field, and no matter who he is surrounded with, he will deliver. It helps that he has elite passing weapons in Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, but it starts and ends with Peyton Manning. The defense remains mediocre and the running game is non existent, putting the entire franchise on Manning's shoulders. That's why he is paid the big bucks. Expect the Colts to win 12 or more games once again and be in the discussion for another Super Bowl appearance.

2. Tennessee Titans, 9-7. What a strange season for the Titans. They start 0-6, culminating with perhaps the most one sided game in regular season history in losing 59-0 to the Patriots. I watched the game and it wasn't even that close. The Pats let up. But they rebounded to finish with an 8-8 record, and Chris Johnson ran for over 2000 yards. Not to mention Vince Young got his second wind. The Titans will enter 2010 trying to win the same way they have played during Jeff Fisher's very successful tenure. They will run the ball and run some more. The defense has some issues, however. They were horrible last year, especially against the pass. But they have a couple of former pro bowlers in Cortland Finnegan and Michael Griffin, and they should improve. Long time leader Keith Bulluck is gone. I think the offense is good enough to get them back into the playoffs, but the defense must step up if they are going to challenge the Colts.

3. Houston Texans, 7-9. The Texans finally broke though and claimed their first winning season in team history. What do they get for a reward? The toughest schedule in the NFL this year. It is simply brutal. Let's look at what got them that winning record last year. The trade for Matt Schaub continues to be a winner for Houston, as he threw for close to 5000 yards and 30 touchdowns. Andre Johnson is the toughest, strongest receiver in the NFL, catching over 100 balls once again. The defense also greatly improved, finishing in the top half of the league. They have spent first round pick after first round pick on the group. Some of the guys (Travis Johnson, Jason Babin) were duds, the jury is out on Amobi Okoye, Dunta Robinson is gone, and Mario Williams and Brian "Over trained Athlete Syndrome" Cushing were home runs. If the Texans can get a reliable running game and improvement from the defense, they can challenge for a playoff spot. But I think they will have to rely on the pass too much and the schedule is too tough for them to have a winning record. They sure will be exciting to watch, though.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars, 6-10. It wasn't long ago the Jaguars looked like Super Bowl contenders. But they have lost quite a bit of talent since then, and don't really seem to have an identity. Maurice Jones-Drew is a stud, the little man continues to show he's an every down threat. Other then that, they don't have a whole lot going for them. David Garrard has been extremely average during his few years starting. They had several first round busts from receivers to defensive ends. The Jaguars only had 14 sacks last season, one of the most putrid performances in NFL history. The Jaguars had a questionable draft and couldn't add any impact players, meaning they will continue to count on disappointing first round picks like Reggie Nelson and Derrick Harvey. I don't see how the Jaguars can escape the basement, and next year they may have to try with a new head coach.

Jonathan Carrano

Phasellus facilisis convallis metus, ut imperdiet augue auctor nec. Duis at velit id augue lobortis porta. Sed varius, enim accumsan aliquam tincidunt, tortor urna vulputate quam, eget finibus urna est in augue.

No comments: