AFC South Preview

Raphael Haynes
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Probably the most non-attractive division is the AFC South. It has usually been dominated by the Indianapolis Colts since the early 2000’s. The highly publicized Colts usually breeze by their divisional foes. This year the South will have some viewers paying attention to the other teams because of anticipated players. The Houston Texans will finally showcase Jadaveon Clowney with J.J. Watt. Also Tennessee Titans will have more spectators because of their rookie quarterback Marcus Mariotta. Finally, the Jacksonville Jaguars showed signs in preseason as their young QB Blake Bortles looked confident and relaxed. There should be no change in the seeding in this division. 


Jacksonville Jaguars

Record in 2014: 3-13

Key Player: Quarterback- Blake Bortles

Player to watch: Defensive tackle: Jared Odrick

Outlook: The poor Jaguars have been in a futile. Since 2010, the Jaguars have an NFL worst 14-50 record and haven’t finished with more than five wins on any season. There seem to be no relief in the foreseeable future. 1st rd pick in 2014 Blake Bortles finished his rookie season with 3 wins in 13 starts. A 58.9 completion percentage, 11 TDs and 17 interceptions. This season will be touch for the Sophomore. His targets are either young and inexperienced or not very good. Maybe Mercedes Lewis or Bernard Peirce (2 of his more experienced weapons) can help the young QB produce some better numbers in his sophomore campaign. Rookie Dante Fowler injured himself in the teams 3rd practice of mini camp. The Jags were looking for him to help provide some help for a defense that finished near the bottom of the league in most categories (27th rush def. 26th in yards per game). Defensive tackle Jared Odrick comes over from the Dolphins after his worst season in the NFL. Odrick who can play multiple positions along the D-line will be looked upon for veteran leadership and play making at the line of scrimmage.
Prediction: 5-11


Tennessee Titans

Record in 2014: 2-14

Key player: Quarterback- Marcus Mariotta

Player to watch: Linebacker- Brian Orakpo

Outlook: The Titans finished last season tied for the worst record in the NFL. As a result they were awarded the 2nd overall pick which they used to select QB Marcus Mariotta. The Oregon phenom finished his college career with 105 passing TDs vs 14 interceptions and 29 rushing TDs in 43 games as a starter. He will have two new targets thanks to free agency WR Harry Douglas and TE Anthony Fasano. Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt will go running back by committee with a trio of youngsters in their 2nd seasons, Bishop Sankey and Terrance west plus rookie David Cobb (currently on short term injured reserve). The defense finished 27th in points allowed last year. Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo is hoping to have a fresh start in Tennessee. The ferocious pass rusher has a knack for getting to the quarterback (40.0 sacks in 71 games) , but has battled injuries for two of the past three seasons. Cornerback Perrish Cox and safety Da’Norris Searcy are upgrades in the secondary.
Prediction: 6-10


Houston Texans

Record in 2014: 9-7

Key player: Defensive end- J.J.Watt

Player to watch: Wide receiver- Deandre Hopkins

Outlook: J.J. Watt seems to be the Texans everything. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year finished with 20.5 sacks and even hauled in three TD catches on offense. The defense hopes that the addition of veteran defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and a healthy Jadeveon Clowney can raise the play of a unit that ranked 16th in total yards last season. Head Coach Bill O’brien led his team to 9 wins. With quarterbacks who won’t be anything higher than a backup this season, Deandre Hopkins takes over as the main offensive threat on the team. He hopes to improve on his 76 catches, 1,210 yards and 6 TD performance from last season. Coach Bill O’brien praised as a QB guru grabbed free agent Brian Hoyer to be his starter this year. An injury to Arian Foster has thrust young Alfred Blue into a significant role this season
Prediction: 9-7


Indianapolis Colts

Record in 2014: 11-5

Key player: Quarterback- Andrew luck

Player to watch: Wide receiver- Andre Johnson

Outlook: There’s not much you have to explain with the Colts. Andrew Luck has proven to be one of the elite quarterbacks in the league. He was 3rd last year season with 4,761 yards and led the NFL with 40 TDs. He will have plenty of targets to look for, starting with the explosive TY Hilton. Veteran Andre Johnson spent his whole career as an opponent of Indianapolis. He now hopes to revive his career with the team and prove he has some juice left. Another veteran former Pro Bowl player, RB Frank Gore should help bolster a running attack viewed as a weakness for the Colts in recent seasons. Coach Chuck Pagano preaches tough play on both sides of the ball. Defensively, Indianapolis was pretty good ranking 11th in total yards. Cornerback Vontae Davis has made the secondary solid. Veteran linebackers D’Qwell Jackson and Treat Cole add leadership to the less glamorous side of the football. Prediction: 13-3

Raphael Haynes

Atlanta, GA

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