Ok, here we go...
A couple of major things I want any readers of my AFC South preview to know. This divisional preview is overall pretty jacked up from the start. Particularly more than other division. I began these predictions and completed them a few weeks ago.
First thing is as soon as Andrew Luck retired much of this prediction got completely dusted into oblivion. Jacoby Brissett is decent, I agree with that take. But he is not Andrew Luck as far as I can tell. Andrew Luck was a REALLY good quarterback. Like seriously, a healthy Andrew Luck was a damn problem. Until further notice I can easily say Jacoby Brissett is competent, but a significant talent downgrade at a very important position.
The second reason I would like readers to read this with a bit of perspective is that...
I'm a diehard Titans fan. So yeah. While yes, I am generally more optimistic towards them overall, I try my best to not be completely ridiculous. The Titans have gone 9-7 three straight seasons so as a supportive fan I am not about to say the Titans are going to be trash, especially without any major roster changes from each of those seasons including this season. If the Titans had just gone 3-13 I wouldn't say they are going to be great the following year, unless I had some major reasons to say otherwise.
I could elaborate further but I think you can get the point. If you don't like it, sorry.
I could go back and and re-do basically the entire NFL Schedule but that would be honestly exhausting. Plus in an NFL season major roster changes happen a lot and injuries happen a lot. It's a long hard season. Any given Sunday.
Anyways that's the gist, I will cover more on specifics with the AFC South below.
My divisional standings pre-Andrew Luck retirement:
|AFC South Standings||W||L|
1. Indianapolis Colts, 12-4
The Colts were the unofficial division champions last season. They went 2-1 against the actual Division champions if you include the Wild Card Playoffs. The Colts ended last season red hot until they ran into a redder and hotter team in the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
A huge part of that great run the Colts went on was their play at quarterback, Andrew Luck. The dude was seriously slinging it last year. 2019 was going to be a big big year for Indianapolis and Andrew Luck. But of course he abruptly retired and shocked the entire league. Now it is Jacoby Brissett's turn. I think the team can be very good with him at QB but I just wonder how good? Are the pieces and defense around him great enough to keep the Colts on track like last season? Will Jacoby Brissett prove to be much better than people think? Will this overall adversity light a motivational fire under the team and surprise everyone, or will the shock and change be too much and they crumble?
So many changes I suspect the Colts will be an on the bubble team for the playoffs. 7-9 to 9-7 range. But who knows. There are so many question marks surrounding this team after Luck's retirement. Just going to have to wait and watch when it comes to the Colts.
2. Tennessee Titans, 11-5
This is Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota's fifth and most important season of his career. I like Mariota a lot but I like winning a lot more, and 9-7 or worse for a fourth straight season would be disappointing. His main problem is injuries. He really needs to stop getting injured so much. When he is healthy and gets in a rhythm he can be a great player. Most of his bad highlights stem from him playing while dealing with an injury. Every year of his career he has played injured. If he can somehow stay healthy this guy can really shine and prove how good he is. I would love to see Mariota put together a completely healthy season.
For several years now it's been reported that Mariota has put on weight in the offseason to help lessen how often he gets injured. Once again this season the same thing was said but what's different in my opinion is that this time his weight gain is actually noticeable. I just hope that it translates to a healthy Mariota. If Mariota can live up to his full potential the Titans can shock some folks.
The Titans also picked up QB Ryan Tannehill as a backup quarterback. The dude started for years and isn't super old at all. I think that he is one of the best backup QBs in football. If you don't think a backup QB is important then may I point you to the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles?
Running back Derrick Henry also needs to show that he can be more consistent in 2019. When Henry gets moving he is hard to tackle and dominant. Backs Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis have the potential to be huge together.
The defense for the Titans has been strong for a few years now, and I expect the defense to continue to play well.
Overall I think this team will do well in 2019. They have a good core and have added good players in the draft and free agency. With another year under Head Coach Mike Vrabel and the overall the same coaching staff coming back, I think this team will be pretty good.
3. Houston Texans, 9-7
The Houston Texans are a decent team, I personally think quarterback Deshaun Watson is a tad overrated. I don't know, he seems panicky at times in the pocket. He is good, just I think maybe not quite as good as the media portrays him to be.
Their running back situation is a bit questionable and their offensive line could be a bit better. DeAndre Hopkins is the best receiver in football in my opinion so that helps alleviate pressure on the running game and o-line. Their defense is definitely good so that helps a lot too.
Another reason I have them at 9-7 is because they have had a lot of roster changes recently and I wonder how the team will mesh together.
Despite that their hopes for a better record and playoffs went up with Andrew Luck retiring. This team can definitely find it's way into the playoffs.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars, 5-11
The Jaguars are an interesting squad, especially with Nick Foles at quarterback. Two years ago they were extremely close to a Super Bowl appearance, but then just last season they declined tremendously. Can Nick Foles take them over the top? I obviously don't think so. As good as people think Foles is, I think he's just above average. I don't know if Foles has the ability to make everyone around him better. I think he can thrive with good talent and good defense around him. But the Jags have good defense, right? Maybe not. Bortles wasn't a very good QB but everyone knew that. So why the decline from 2017 to 2018? Maybe their defense isn't quite as elite as everyone thinks?
With the Andrew luck retirement who knows. Foles was a good signing for the Jags, maybe they will be better than I think.
Titans have beat the Jags four times in a row though ;) Hahahaha.
Gosh I am happy that this chaotic post is over. The next three divisons should be straight forward and to the point.
How do you think my predictions look? How do you think the AFC South will play out? Let me know! Steem and sport on!