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AFC South Preview

Jarrett Bailey, Sports Writer

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With the AFC North out of the way, it’s time to head south with the Colts, Texans, Jaguars and Titans.

  1. Colts (11-5): The Colts are an easy choice for the division winner, not just because they are a good team, but because they play in a less-than-stellar division. But, nevertheless, you have to give credit where credit is due. Andrew Luck has emerged as one of the league’s top quarterbacks, throwing for 4761 yards along with 40 TDS. Along with an emerging QB, there has been an emergence at wide receiver in T.Y Hilton. Hilton led the Colts in nearly every receiving category, including 82 receptions for 1345 yards and 7 TDs. With Reggie Wayne leaving, it unofficially makes Hilton the leader of this receiving corps. With teams now focused more on that, it will give more chances for Coby Fleener to shine at tight end. Defensively, this group was lead by D’qwell Jackson. The wiley veteran linebacker lead the team last season with 140 tackles. I love this set of linebackers; you got Erik Walden and Robert Mathis on the outside with Trent Cole coming in, as well. Indy has the talent to cruise to another division title, and I think that is exactly what they will do.
  2. Titans (7-9): I see tremendous improvement with the Titans this season. Marcus Marioita has looked great in the Pre-season and has a solid corps of receivers to work with. Kendall Wright and Harry Douglas are a great young tandem, and they got good options that they can work into a slot position with Hakeem Nicks and Dorial Green-Beckham. Defensively, the Titans look much better than in 2014. Brian Orakpo came over from Washington and is a great leader to have on this young Titans defensive unit. Another player I see big things from this season is Da’Norris Searcy at Safety. Searcy is another new face in the Music City as he came over from the Bills. He accounted for 65 tackles and 3 interceptions in 2014, and with Michael Griffin on his opposite side along with Jason McCourty and Perrish Cox the two starting Corners, this defense could be a top 15 unit. Although I don’t see a playoff birth in 2015 for Tennessee, I think they will definitely put up a fight in the AFC.
  3. Texans (7-9): The Texans are a team that I could see either surprising some people and fighting for a wildcard spot, or doing what I expect them to do- struggle. Brian Hoyer is the new QB in charge of this offense, which lost long0time leader Andre Johnson at Wide Receiver. This means that guys like Cecil Shorts III and DeAndre Hopkins will have to pull their load and help out Arian Foster in the backfield. On the defensive side of the ball, we all know about J.J. Watt and how incredible of a force he is, but one man cannot carry a team, especially if he is a defensive linemen. Brian Cushing is still a very capable player at middle linebacker, along with Jadeveon Clowney at Right linebacker. Jonathan Joseph is a very experienced guy at corner who could be a great leader of their secondary, composed of Rahim Moore, Eddie Pleasant, and Kareem Jackson. Like I said, Houston does have a talented defense, but I do see growing pains on the offensive side of the ball this season, causing this team to struggle.
  4. Jaguars (6-10): The Jags are a team that is in the midst of a rebuild. They are trying Denard Robinson at RB, which is an idea that I love, especially because they also have T.J. Yeldon who they can rotate in and out. At receiver, they don’t have many options, with Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns starting. Julius Thomas will be a good option at tight end, so expect him to have a good year. On defense, Paul Posluszny is the unquestioned leader of this defense. In my opinion, Posluszny is one of the most underrated players in the league and has tremendous talent and experience. Their defensive line is nearly unstoppable with Jared Odrick, Sen ‘Derrick Marks, Roy Miller, and Chris Clemons. Jonathan Cyprien is adapting into a fine safety, and could help the Jaguars clinch a playoff birth in the upcoming years.
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