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Tracking the AFC SouthPosted Monday, August 29, 2011, at 9:40 AM
Being that it is time for football -- with the regular season of the National Football League set to begin Sept. 8, with the Green Bay Packers playing host to the New Orleans Saints -- I started thinking this weekend how the season may play out.
The 92nd year of NFL action is officially upon us. All divisions and playoff spots are up for grabs.
Which teams will rise to the top? Which teams will win divisions? Which team will win the Super Bowl?
I love predictions, but I admit I'm horrible at it.
With that being said, it's still fun to look at the teams in the league and try to figure out how the season will move.
So, I decided to blog about each division this year.
And the first division I wanted to predict will be the AFC South.
The division is made up of the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.
The Colts have maintained a stronghold on this division for many years. And for the past couple of seasons, many have believed Houston may finally win it.
Peyton Manning's recovery from neck surgery seems to be getting all the headlines and many believe the Colts could be in trouble.
While I think Houston has the talent to win this division, the AFC South is still up for grabs.
* Since 2002, the Colts have won the division seven times. For that matter, the club has won 10 or more games each season since 2002.
Not having Manning at the start of the season has everyone spooked. But I'm still not convinced he will miss any games. The signal caller hasn't missed a game since coming into the league.
While the club surely wants to head into the season with a healthy Manning, they can still do some damage if he's not at full strength.
The Colts' running game isn't as good as other squads, but Joseph Addai is pretty good, not only at running the ball, but catching it out of the backfield. And the team can dink and dunk in the passing game early on. Reggie Wayne still leads a solid group of receivers.
Until Houston can show other squads that they are for real, I think the Colts win this division yet again, finishing 11-5.
* On paper, the Texans appear to be the best team in this division. Arian Foster is very explosive out of the backfield. However, he strained his hamstring Saturday in a preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers. While the club believes he'll be ready for the season opener, hamstring injuries can present problems.
In recent seasons, Houston quarterback Matt Schaub finally looked like he put it all together. He's put up awesome numbers two years in a row and nothing would appear to be in the way of a third-straight 4,000-yard passing season. But before the 2009 season, Schaub had a history of being injury-prone. I'm still not convinced.
Outside of Andre Johnson, the receiving corps seems thin and yet, Schaub keeps putting up great numbers.
Houston's biggest problems in recent seasons came on the defensive side of the ball and until they can put it all together, I still think they finish second in this division at 10-6.
* This is probably the end of the line for Jaguars' coach Jack Del Rio despite coaching a squad that hasn't shown the ability to compete in this division for a couple of years.
The Jaguars enter the 2011 campaign with some really good players, including running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who annually puts up great numbers.
But there isn't much regarding receivers and quarterback David Garrard is on thin ice.
The Jaguars will be lucky to manage seven wins this season, making this a solid prediction to finish 6-10. After that, it may be off to Los Angeles for the franchise.
* The Tennessee Titans? Ugh. The rebuilding process has officially begun.
The Titans are a clear example of how drafting wrong can set a team back. The club drafted Vince Young in 2006 and while he put up some decent numbers, off field issues were always looming.
The Vince Young era is over and the Titans head into 2011 with Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback. Hasselbeck is good, but he's 35 and not getting any younger. The team drafted Jake Locker in 2011 and he appears to be the heir apparent, but he's not ready yet.
This team has always been known for its running game and I don't expect anything to change this season. Except for who may be carrying the ball.
Chris Johnson electrifies the field when he plays and has had back-to-back unbelievable seasons, rushing for more than 2,000 yards in 2009.
Johnson, however, was in a contract dispute with the club and hasn't played at all this preseason.
With all of this in mind, the Titans will be lucky to win six games. I see them finishing 4-12
So, I have the Colts winning the division again at 11-5, with the Texans coming in at 10-6, followed by Jacksonville at 6-10 and the Titans at 4-12. Hey, I had to go with the Colts in order to stay out of the doghouse.
What do you think?
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