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Adversity Brings Out The Best: 2019 AFC South Preview
Photo Courtesy of Canal Street Chronicle

Adversity Brings Out The Best: 2019 AFC South Preview

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The AFC South was going to be a nip and tuck battle the entire season with each team having a legit chance to win the division. Then Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck abruptly retired, sending a shockwave throughout the league. Houston is the favorite and rightfully so, they have the most talented roster and an elite quarterback. Jacksonville is back as a viable contender to possibly knock the Texans off the division pedestal. Tennessee is looking to make some noise within the division. Indianapolis took a huge step back and won’t recover this season.

 

Houston Texans

Record in 2018: 11-5

Key Player: Runningback- Duke Johnson

Player To Watch: Linebacker- Brennan Scarlett

This was supposed to be the year the Texans took the next step to become legit Super Bowl contenders. With running back Lamar Miller out for the year and linebacker Jadeveon Clowney unhappy with his contract (pay me or trade me stance), it makes the season a little uncertain.

More pressure will be placed on quarterback Deshaun Watson and the passing game to be elite. Can newly acquired Duke Johnson fill the void left by Miller?

Clowney’s situation will heavily impact the defense one way or the other. Houston gave up a lot of passing yards with him. What would happen without him? All Pro defensive end JJ Watt will need to be Hercules to keep the defense decent. Prediction: 10-6

 

Indianapolis Colts

Record in 2018: 10-6

Key Player: Quarterback- Jacoby Brissett

Player To Watch: Defensive End- Justin Houston

The impact of quarterback Andrew Luck retiring can’t be overstated. The reality is next man up: hello Jacoby Brissett. He won’t be asked to carry the team but more like manage with minimal turnovers. Runningback Marlon Mack must at least match last season’s numbers, if not exceed them to really help Brissett succeed.

The defense was better than expected last season but struggled giving up big passing plays downfield. Newly acquired defensive end Justin Houston should help that by creating steady pressure on the opposing quarterback. Can the defense keep them in games as the offense finds itself? Prediction: 7-9

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Record in 2018: 5-11

Key Player: Runningback- Leonard Fournette

Player To Watch: Linebacker- Josh Allen

It’s a new year and and there is a lot of excitement back in Jacksonville. Nick Foles is now the starting quarterback and is a  huge upgrade over Blake Bortles. Running back Leonard Fournette is back and healthy. They will need him to be productive and give this offense a chance to be special.

The offense has all the weapons there to be elite and thus help the defense at the same time by putting up points and time consuming drives. The defense has all the talent in place to be special again but got exposed by an inept offense. Prediction: 10-6

 

Tennessee Titans

Record in 2018: 9-7

Key Player: Linebacker- Rashaan Evans

Player To Watch: Tight End- Delanie Walker

This is a make or break year for the Titans and specifically quarterback Marcus Mariota. There are no excuses for him not to have a big year. He has a talented receiving group, a great rushing attack behind him and he has his security blanket back in Delanie Walker. Time to put up or shut up.

The defense has to step up as well. They were terrific against the pass and horrific against the run. The linebackers must make plays to contain opposing rushing attacks. If not, it will be another mediocre year for a team that has potential to be much more. The division just became more winnable, can the Titans step up? Prediction: 10-6

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