By Derek and Ryan of The Sportmeisters
With the NFL season fast approaching, Sportmeisters Derek and Ryan break out the crystal ball and foresee the future of all 32 NFL teams. Today, Derek and Ryan look at the AFC South and discuss how they got to their respective decisions. What follows is a transcript of that discussion.
- Indianapolis Colts: 13-3
- Tennessee Titans: 11-5
- Houston Texans: 11-5
- Jacksonville Jaguars: 6-10
- Indianapolis Colts: 13-3
- Tennessee Titans: 10-6
- Jacksonville Jaguars: 7-9
- Houston Texans: 6-10
Ryan: Derek, the Colts are back in their rightful place at the top, but, once again, I seem to have a top-heavy division.
Derek: The AFC South had a surprise winner last year. However, this year it will go back to the rightful owners. With a healthy Peyton Manning at the helm, the key coaching losses won’t really matter to Indianapolis as much as people think.
Ryan: Absolutely, and I think running back Donald Brown will be the starter by year’s end. This team is stronger defensively as well. I think a loss to Tennessee, Houston, and the annual end-of-year rest game against Buffalo will make them a healthy 13-3.
Derek: They will lose a close shootout to Arizona, as well as one loss to Tennessee and of course the last game to Buffalo when the starters will be rested and Buffalo will be fighting for a playoff spot.
Ryan: Let’s move on to last year’s division winner in Tennessee. They lost Albert Haynesworth in the defensive tackle spot, but this team is known for their running prowess and ability to milk the clock.
Derek: Tennessee had a great year last year, but without Haynesworth they will be a bit more vulnerable on D and I don’t think the running game nor quarterback Kerry Collins will be nearly as effective.
Ryan: They have some tough matchups, and they’ll fall to New England, Pittsburgh, and Indianapolis among their five losses.
Derek: They will lose games to Pittsburgh, New England, Arizona, San Diego, and will split games with divisional foes Jacksonville and Indianapolis. They will give it a run, but won’t win the division, though they may get a wild card.
Ryan: Let’s move on to a team I think finally gets over the hump, the Houston Texans. Between Andre Johnson, Steve Slaton, Mario Williams (how about the 2006 draft?), Amobi Okoye, among others, this team has all the pieces together.
Derek: Ryan, I like Houston, but they will have to wait another year to fulfill their potential. They will win a few games vs. Oakland, Miami, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Buffalo, but they won’t be able to compete in the division and will lose all six divisional games, knocking them out of any playoff contention.
Ryan: You see, there is our difference. I think Houston gets the better of a few of their divisional opponents, but a wild card might not be in reach just yet.
Derek: Finally, the Jaguars. They said goodbye to Fred Taylor, putting the pressure on Maurice Jones Drew, and they shored up their O-line in the offseason. Ryan, neither of us think its enough.
Ryan: I’m not seeing it this year, but I think a lot of it comes from the talent within their division. Those same struggles you saw in Houston, I’m seeing here.
Derek: Jacksonville was very disappointing last year and, unfortunately for the Jaguars, will be again this year. I don’t see a bounce-back year in the cards, even with wins over Houston, St. Louis, Kansas City, San Francisco, Tennessee, and Cleveland.
Ryan: They’re not bouncing back, but we’re bouncing from this conversation.