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2016 AFC South Preview
Photo coutresy of Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

2016 AFC South Preview

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Raphael Haynes

Owner, Editor, Writer at The 3 Point Conversion
Atlanta, GA
Raphael Haynes
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The AFC South should be seen as a division on the rise. Following a season where nobody seemed to take total control, all four teams involved roll out young (or very young) QBs, most if not all with new and improved offenses. With the mighty Indianapolis Colts ousted from there throne last year, will the defensive minded Houston Texans take control again or will it be one of the other young gunners in Jacksonville or Tennessee grabbing the torch to represent them in the playoffs. Get your popcorn ready!

 

 Tennessee Titans

Record in 2015: 3-13

Key Player: Quarterback- Marcus Mariotta

Player To Watch: Running Backs Derrick Henry/Demarco Murray

Outlook: Year two of the “Mariotta Experience” comes with a new wrinkle, a loaded backfield. Rookie Derrick Henry and former rushing leader Demarco Murray join together to create a monstrous rushing attack. The team also added veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson in an attempt to improve on an offense that was 28th in points per game last season. The defense was solid ranking seventh against the pass (12th in total yards against). Brian Orakpo and company looks to roll out a steady unit week in and week out while the offense follows suit. Still a lot of questions to be answered in Tennessee. Prediction: 5-11

 

 Jacksonville Jaguars

Record in 2015: 5-11

Key Player: Quarterback- Blake Bortles

Player To Watch: Safety- Tashaun Gipson

Outlook: Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson, and T.J. Yeldon join second year starting QB Blake Bortles (32 TD passes in 15′) in an offense that looked unstoppable at times a year ago. Finishing in the top half of the league in both pass yards (10th) and points per game (14th), year two of the offensive barrage should be even better. Coach Gus Bradley might be bragging more about his revamped defense starting with the return of last year’s top pick Date Fowler Jr. (Missed entire 15′ season). Throw in the additions of cornerback (CB) Prince Amukamara, defensive tackle Malik Jackson, rookies CB Jalen Ramsey and safety  Myles Jack and Bradley’s prized acquisition Tashaun Gipson, the defense as a whole looks more explosive and ready to make an impact. Prediction: 10-6

 

polls_Colts_20logo_1651_225107_answer_2_small Indianapolis Colts

Record in 2015: 8-8

Key Player: Quarterback- Andrew Luck

Player To Watch: Cornerback/Safety- Antonio Cromartie

Outlook: The Indianapolis Colts would like a do over for last season. QB Andrew Luck suffered through his worst season of his career due to injuries and bad offensive line play. Luck finished 32nd in pass yards just one slot higher than his backup Matt Hasselbeck. He will look to get back to All-Pro status and lead the Colts back to the heights of the AFC. The defense wasn’t terrible (which is not saying much). The addition of CB Antonio Cromartie will help combat the high flying offenses around the league. The Colts are a veteran team that needs a push in the right direction to reassume their AFC south dominance. Prediction: 9-7

 

 Houston Texans

Record in 2015: 9-7

Key Player: Wide Receiver- Deandre Hopkins

Player to watch: Defensive End- Jadaveon Clowney

Outlook: “Houston we’ve fixed the problem”.  The team that won the AFC south did so without steady
(and sometimes terrible) QB play. Coach Bill O’Brien (known as the QB whisperer throughout the league) went out and got Brock Oswieler to run the ship. The veteran (and perennial backup) started seven games for the champion Denver Broncos last season. O’Brien will still have his best weapon, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins roaming around making spectacular catches and scoring touchdowns. The Houston defense, led by J.J. Watt, is what really took a stronghold of the division. Finishing 3rd in total yards against (3rd vs the pass too) last season, the Texans look to duplicate in that same dominant fashion this year. The first overall pick i  2014 Jadaveon Clowney finally looks ready to make a big impact for that unit. He seemed quick and reactionary during the preseason exploding across the line of scrimmage and chasing down runners from behind. The Texans seem to be solid on both sides of the ball and will look to make a playoff run ..rather than just an appearance. Prediction: 10-6 (division winners)

 

About Raphael Haynes

Atlanta, GA

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