Team Analysis and Season Predictions for AFC South

Marcus Mariota

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the first of a series of articles that will examine and analyze each NFL team and division. The main focus of this article is on the AFC South (Colts, Texans, Titans, Jaguars). Every major aspect of the 4 teams will be analyzed, leading to a final prediction for the division!

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Pros:

  1. Solid draft including key additions to the secondary in safety Malik Hooker and cornerback Quincy Wilson.

  2. Had a very solid free agency period, picking up players such as LB John Simon, DE Jabaal Sheard, OLB Barkevious Mingo, WR Kamar Aiken, and top DT Jonathan Hankins.

  3. Free agency and the draft led to a fully revamped linebacking corps and secondary, which should help them improve from last year after being the 30th ranked defense in the entire league.

  4. Andrew Luck should return to full health. News recently broke that Andrew Luck was battling an ongoing injury for this past year and a half, which should explain why he hasn’t been up to par as of late.

  5. Luck should be able to utilize all of his receivers this year. Luck has plenty of targets to throw to this season, including Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton, speedster Phillip Dorsett, Donte Moncrief, Jack Doyle, and newly acquired free agent Kamar Aiken. Receivers shouldn’t be a problem for the Colts this year, but they will be a problem for opposing defenders.

Cons:

  1. They still have a questionable running back corps. Led by Frank Gore, Robert Turbin, and 4th round draft pick Marlon Mack, who we’ve yet to see play, but we already know what Frank Gore, and Robert Turbin are capable of, which isn’t anything above average.

  2. Suspect offensive line. It’s no surprise to anyone that part of Andrew Luck’s downfall was his awful offensive line. We thought things would be better when the Colts drafted center Ryan Kelly in the 1st round of last years draft but he’s yet to make a huge impact. Notable names along with Ryan Kelly on the offensive line are Guard Jack Mewhort and Tackle Anthony Castonzo. Once again, nothing terrific. The offensive line HAS to step up if Luck is going to have any success.

  3. Lack of explosiveness across the defensive line. Newly acquired free agent Jonathan Hankins will team up with Al Woods, Grover Stewart, Henry Anderson, and Kendall Langford. Aside from Hankins, there isn’t much to like about this defensive line, and this should for sure be a problem for the colts next season.

  4. The colts lost a few key free agents this off season including safety Mike Adams, DE Zach Kerr, OLB Robert Mathis, Punter Pat McAfee, OT Joe Reitz, and Guard Hugh Thornton. These losses will definitely hurt them as a team.

CONCLUSION:

It all comes down to the offensive line. If the offensive line plays well, then Andrew Luck is going to have himself another pro bowl season, and we could even see breakout years from guys like Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett.

Colts: 9-7 3rd in AFC South

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Pros:

  1. For the second year in a row, the Jaguars had a very good draft, taking HB Leonard Fournette in the 1st round, tackle Cam Robinson in the 2nd, and WR Dede Westbrook in the 4th. All 3 of those draft picks should be able to make an immediate impact on the team, especially Leonard Fournette,

  2. They made major defensive moves in free agency. They signed CB A.J. Bouye who will likely be a boom or bust type player, DE Calais Campbell and safety Barry Church. Bouye will be paired up with Jalen Ramsey to be a lockdown duo, and Campbell will line up alongside Dante Fowler Jr and Malik Jackson.

  3. The Jaguars have a very young and exciting offense. They have arguably one of the best running back corps in the league with Fournette, TJ Yeldon, and Chris Ivory, along with one of the best reciving corps with Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee, and rookie Dede Westbrook. This is, overall, a very talented offense.

  4. Along with having a very strong offense, the Jaguars also have a very young and explosive defense that has potential to be one of the best in the NFL. At linebacker, they have future star Myles Jack, Telvin Smith, and Paul Posluszny, in the secondary, Barry Church, Jalen Ramsey, AJ Bouye, and Tashaun Gibson, on the defensive line, they have Calais Campbell, Sheldon Day, Dante Fowler, Malik Jackson, and Yannik Ngakoue. Overall, one of the best defenses in the league.

Cons:

  1. In 2015 Blake Bortles had a very good season, and then last year he played like one of the worst QBs in the league. He can’t be trusted as the answer for them at the game’s most important position.

  2. The Jaguars have a below average offensive line. When looking at the O-line for the Jags this season, i nearly cringe. There is not much to like about it, this will for sure be a problem for the Jaguars in the season.

  3. The Jaguars lost a lot of solid players in the offseason, some players include, DE Tyson Alualu, DB Prince Amukamura, OT Kelvin Beachum, safety Jonathan Cyprien, and TE Julius Thomas. These are all solid players who could easily make a difference on the team.

CONCLUSION:

Everything comes down to Blake Bortles. If Blake Bortles plays like he did in 2015, i think the Jaguars will find success, but if he plays like he did last year, its another below .500 season for the Jaguars, and i see Bortles playing badly again this year, putting them in the bottom of the AFC South once again.

Jaguars: 7-9 4th in the AFC South

HOUSTON TEXANS

Pros:

  1. Deandre Hopkins finally has a Quarterback. For the 1st time in years, Deandre Hopkins has himself a QB who is actually capable of playing at an average or higher level. I’d expect a big bounce back season for him and fellow receiver Will Fuller this year.

  2. The Texans have one of the all around best running backs in the league in Lamar Miller. When Miller is healthy, he is a monster. He has speed and power, a rare combination. His only concern is whether he can stay healthy or not, but if he does, expect another 1000 yard season.

  3. Very talented front seven. Picture Jadeveon Clowney, J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing, Whitney Mercilus, and Bendardrick McKinney all on the same team. This front-7 is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Cons:

  1. Texans had a very quiet off-season. Besides the draft, the Texans didn’t make many moves in free agency, relying mostly on their current roster.

  2. Re-signing A.J. Bouye will be the Texans’ biggest fault. Bouye made a major difference to the defense last year, and losing him damages their secondary in a big way.

  3. Lackluster draft. Trading up for Deshaun Watson that early may end up biting them in the end. Taking D’onta Freeman in the 3rd round was a questionable pick to me, there were better players on the board and there were positions they needed more.

CONCLUSION:

The Texans have been able to succeed without a good starting QB, and now that they finally have one, we could see a very deadly team that can dominate on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

Texans: 10-6 2nd in AFC South

TENNESSEE TITANS

Pros:

  1. Marcus Mariota is set to be a star in the NFL. Mariota had a breakout season last year and I don’t see him stopping now, I think he will only continue to get better and that will show this season.

  2. Very good backfield. Demarco Murray is set to be the bell cow, with former Heisman winner Derrick Henry backing him up. Murray rejuvenated his career last season in a big way, expect big things from Murray and Henry this year. They could be the next great thunder and lighting duo.

  3. Both 1st round picks WR Corey Davis and DB Adoree Jackson should make immediate impacts. Corey Davis has been drawing strong comparisons to Terrell Owens, and i think they are very similar. Corey Davis will be a star, meanwhile, when healthy, Adoree Jackson is incredibly explosive, showing potential as a lockdown corner.

  4. The Titans have one of the best offensive lines in the league led my Jack Conklin, Ben Jones, and Taylor Lewan. This offensive line will keep Mariota upright and open up holes for those two stud running backs.

Cons:

  1. Losing a few key free agents such as guard Chance Warmack, WR Kendall Wright, and TE Anthony Fasano are going to hurt the offense. Fasano was one of the highest rated blocking tight ends in the entire league, losing him and Warmack will definitely affect their run blocking.

  2. Defensive line needs to step up. The Titans front four is led by Jurrell Casey and newly acquired NT Sylvester Williams. Besides those two, the rest of the line needs to step up and make more of an impact.

CONCLUSION:

I believe the Titans are the most complete and well rounded team in the entire division. There aren’t any big lingering problems on the team. The Marcus Mariota-led Titans are going to be a very good team this year.

Titans: 11-5 1st in AFC South

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5 thoughts on “Team Analysis and Season Predictions for AFC South

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