AFC South Season Preview

The NFL season is quickly approaching and with teams already set with free agency and the draft, the AFC South teams will look to once again try and dethrone the Houston Texans and fight for a playoff spot.

DISCLAIMER: Predictions are made on the assumption that everyone is healthy.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Offseason: Grade- A-

The Jaguars released DE Chris Smith, LB Dan Skuta, OT Kelvin Beachum, G Luke Joeckel, S Johnathan Cyprien, CB Prince Amukamara, and DL Tyson Alualu along with many other players. Along with these moves, the Jaguars signed CB A.J. Bouye, S Barry Church, DT Calais Campbell, LeRentee McCray and Audie Cole. During the draft, the Jaguars drafted RB Leonard Fournette, OT Cam Robinson, DE Dawuane Smoot, WR Dede Westbrook, LB Blair Brown, CB Jalen Myrick, and  FB Marquez Williams.

2016-2017 Rankings

Per CBS Sports, the offense ranked 23rd overall, averaging 101.9 (22nd) rushing yards per game, and averaging 233.0 (20th) passing yards per game. They scored 19.9 points per game which was 25th in the league.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Jaguars defense ranked 6th overall allowing 106.4 (19th) rushing yards per game and allowing 215.2 (5th) passing yards per game. They allowed 25 points per game which ranked 25th in the league.

Keys To Success

This Jaguars defense is very good and it only got better this offseason. They got a great DT in Calais Campbell who will team up with Malik Jackson and improve this mediocre Jaguar’s run defense. They got a starting cornerback in AJ Bouye to start opposite from Jalen Ramsey and got a starting safety in Barry Church. This defense is going to be stacked this year.

The key to success for this Jaguars team is going to be Blake Bortles. Bortles threw for 3,905 yards, 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions finishing with a 58.9% completion rate. This year Bortles has a plethora of talent around which includes Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee and Dede Westbrook. If Bortles has a great season then this team can be a playoff contender, but unfortunately, I don’t see it happening.

Season Projections

Projected Record: 6-10

OPOY: Leonard Fournette

DPOY: Calais Campbell

ROY: Leonard Fournette

Houston Texans

Offseason: Grade- B-

The Texans traded Brock Osweiler, let top cornerback AJ Bouye test free agency, as Vince Wilfork retired this offseason. But, the Texans signed S Marcus Gilchrist, WR Devin Street, WR Dres Anderson and LB Sio Moore. During the draft, the Texans drafted QB Deshaun Watson, LB Zach Cunningham, RB D’Onta Foreman, OT Julién Davenport, DT Carlos Watkins, S Treston Decoud, and C Kyle Fuller.

2016-2017 Rankings

The offense ranked 29th overall, averaging 116.2 (8th) rushing yards per game, and 198.5 (29th) passing yards. They averaged 17.4 points per game which were 29th in the league.

On the defensive side of the ball, it is a different story. The defense was the best in the league, allowing 99.7 (12th) rushing yards per game and allowing 201.6 (2nd) passing yards per game. They allowed 20.5 points per game which were 11th in the league.

Keys To Success

Much like the Jaguars, the Texans defense is stacked. They have a great front 7 led by JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. The only weak spot on this defense is the safety position, but other than that, this defense is going to be stacked and a force not to be messed with.

The key to success this season is going to rest on the quarterback’s hand whether it’s Tom Savage or Deshaun Watson. The offensive line is definitely a weak spot on offense, but even last year the passing game was terrible ranking in the bottom 5 in the league. Will Fuller V is out for at least 2 months so this passing game took a big hit. With two inexperienced quarterbacks running the helm, I don’t see this team going to the playoffs again.

Season Projections

Projected Record: 9-7

OPOY: Lamar Miller

DPOY: JJ Watt

ROY: DeShaun Watson

Indianapolis Colts

Offseason: Grade- B

The Colts lost WR Devin Street,  TE Dwayne Allen, LB D’Qwell Jackson, S Mike Adams during this offseason. However, the Colts managed to add LB Jabaal Sheard, LB John Simon, WR Kamar Aiken, DT Johnathan Hankins, and LB Jon Bostic. The Colts drafted S Malik Hooker, CB Quincy Wilson, DE Tarell Basham, OT Zach Banner, RB Marlon Mack, DT Grover Stewart, CB Nate Hairston, LB Anthony Walker.

2016-2017 Rankings

The offense ranked 10th overall averaging 101.8 (23rd) rushing yards per game and passing for 262.6 (5th) yards per game. The offense averaged 25.7 points per game which ranked 8th in the league.

The defense was terrible ranking 30th in the league allowing 120.4 (25th) rushing yards per game and 262.5 (27th) passing yards per game. The defense gave up 24.5 points per game which were 22nd in the league.

Keys To Success

This team has a strong receiving core led by TY Hilton and Donte Moncrief. Hilton led the league in receiving yards last year and Moncrief was injured and missed a little less than half the season, but had 7 touchdowns.

For this team to be successful, Andrew Luck has to stay healthy. This team cannot win without Luck as we saw in the select few games last season. Also, this defense needs to perform very well for the team to succeed. This defense is the downfall of this team and the offense can only carry the team so far.

Season Projections

OPOY: Andrew Luck

DPOY: Malik Hooker

ROY: Malik Hooker

Tennesse Titans

Offseason: Grades- B-

The Titans lost TE Anthony Fasano, LB Sean Spence, WR Kendall Wright, G Chance Warmack, and CB Jason McCourty over the course of the offseason. However, the Titans added CB Logan Ryan, DT Sylvester Williams, WR Eric Decker and S Johnathan Cyprien along with many more additions. The Titans drafted WR Corey Davis, CB Adoree’ Jackson, WR Taywan Taylor, TE Jonnu Smith, LB Jayon Brown, OL Corey Levin, OLB Josh Carraway, OT Brad Seaton, and RB Khalfani Muhammad.

2016-2017 Rankings

The Titans offense ranked 11th overall in the league rushing for 136.7 (3rd) yards per game and passing for 221.3 (25th) yards per game. The offense averaged 23.8 points per game which was 14th in the league.

The defense ranked 20th in the league allowing 88.3 (2nd) rushing yards per game and allowing 269.2 (30th) passing yards per game. The Titan’s defense gave up 23.6 points per game which was the 17th best in the NFL.

Keys To Success

The running game for the Titans was very good. DeMarco Murray rushed for over 1000 yards while Derrick Henry rushed for just under 500. The run defense for Tennessee was one of the best in the league. The ground game and run defense were the Titan’s biggest strengths.

For the Titans to be successful, the cornerbacks and safeties need to be locking the opposing teams’ aerial threats down. The passing defense was one of the worst last year and the Titans addressed this problem so they should become better against the opposing teams passing game. The Wide Receivers need to play well. They had a bottom 10 passing offense and it got better after this offseason as they got more weapons for Marcus Mariota to throw to.

Season Projections

Projected Record: 11-5

OPOY: DeMarco Murray

DPOY: Jonathan Cyprien

ROY: Corey Davis

All in all, the AFC South is a very competitive division and was tough to choose from. All teams in this division have improved. This division once again will be competitive as only one will come on top as AFC South Champion.

Standings

  1. Tennessee Titans:11-5
  2. Indianapolis  Colts: 10-6
  3. Houston Texans:9-7
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars: 6-10

 

 

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