By Sean Robson
The 2012 regular season was the last time the AFC South combined for more than 30 wins. Since Andrew Luck took the helm in Indianapolis, the Colts look to be the pre season favorites for the next 5 seasons at least. In the past two seasons the Houston Texans have totaled 11 wins, the Tennessee Titans have totaled 9 wins and the Jacksonville Jaguars have a total of 7 wins. There’s only one way this division can go, and that is up.
Indianapolis ColtsEmbed from Getty Images
It’s hard not to admire the skill set that Andrew Luck brought to the league from the moment he was drafted. With the trio of T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne and Donte Moncrief at wide receiver, it doesn’t look like anyone in this pathetic division will stop them anytime soon. The only elements of Indy’s offense that will hold them back from being considered legitimate Super Bowl contenders is their backfield. Trent Richardson and Dan Herron don’t seem to be the answer, but with the 2nd highest scoring fantasy quarterback leading the offense, a playoff birth seems likely every year.
Houston TexansEmbed from Getty Images
The quarterback circus between Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, Ryan Mallet and Tom Savage combined for a respectable 9 wins this season. This was a major upgrade from their putrid 2013 campaign in which they totaled a measly 2 wins during the regular season. The Houston Texans ranked 5th in the NFL in rushing, thanks to 4-time pro bowl running back, Arian Foster. The Texans have an elite wide receiver duo in Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins, who eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his young career in 2014, per ESPN sources. The 2-time AP Defensive Player of the Year, JJ Watt, remains the cornerstone of the defense and a threat to every opposing quarterback. A team that seems to have playmakers at each position besides the one under center is asking for a 2nd place finish until their quarterback fortunes change. They shouldn’t be worried about the sub par talent coming from the bottom of the division but they still lack the fire power to trounce the Colts.
Tennessee TitansEmbed from Getty Images
Much like the Texans, the Titans haven’t found their answer at quarterback either. Zach Mettenberger and Charlie Whitehurst aren’t the heir to Jake Locker’s “throne.” I use that term lightly because the bust out of the University of Washington left the organization with .391 career win percentage as he seeks an answer in free agency. The Titans haven’t had a playoff caliber quarterback since one-hit-wonder Kerry Collins in 2008, but more realistically, Steve “Air” McNair who left Tennessee in 2005, yikes. Losing Chris (CJ2K) Johnson after the 2013 campaign didn’t help, leaving another valuable position to Washington alumni, Bishop Sankey. By the end of the 2014 season, the Titans had lost 14 of their final 15 games placing them last in the NFL power rankings according to ESPN. Hey, at least they have competition with Jacksonville at the bottom of the division.
Jacksonville JaguarsEmbed from Getty Images
Remember when Blaine Gabbert was arguably ranked the number 1 quarterback prospect in the the 2011 NFL draft? Well the Jaguars traded up 6 spots to select the current 2nd string 49er. But wait- salvation! No, Blake Bortles isn’t going to be a winner in North Florida unless we talk about his model girlfriend, Lindsay Duke, who he actually broke up with quite recently. The biggest news coming out of Jacksonville in the past 5 years is the 9,500 seats on the north side of EverBank Filed (Jaguars stadium) that are being replaced by 16 poolside cabanas. Jacksonville needs more than a few cabanas to keep fans in the stadium. A roster filled with young talent may need 3-4 more years to prove itself. Wide receiver Cecil Shorts, the teams most coveted asset, besides constant criminal Justin Blackmon, is leaving for free agency. Jaguars fans: hope for a few more successful drafts to get your team back in the conversation because even I know Jacksonville isn’t the most appealing market for free agents.
All stats from NFL.com