Southern Comfort: Previewing the AFC South in 2011-2012

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Southern Comfort: Previewing the AFC South in 2011-2012
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Once thought to be the strongest division in all of football, the AFC South has taken a significant step back in recent years. The days of the AFC South producing two playoff teams every year are gone, and the division is clearly in a transition phase.

The Indianapolis Colts were the only team from the division to make the postseason, and they were a first-round exit.

The AFC South is in a full transition phase.

The Colts are dealing with an aging roster and most importantly an aging Peyton Manning. The Houston Texans will begin the tedious transition to a 3-4 defense this offseason. The Tennessee Titans have gotten rid of both their starting quarterback and their longtime head coach, Jeff Fisher. The division's biggest surprise of 2010 was the Jacksonville Jaguars, and they appear to have gotten a two-year head start on the transition phase.

In addition to the division being in transition, the AFC South will play a much more difficult schedule next season. They have opponents from the AFC North and NFC South in comparison to a 2010 schedule that included games against the AFC West and NFC East. With such a tough slate of games, 9-7 could conceivably win the division.

So how will the division play out in 2011? Does Manning have a couple of division titles left up his sleeve? Can the Jaguars take the next step in their development? Will Gary Kubiak and the Houston Texans finally live up to the hype? And how will the Titans look in the post-Fisher era?

All of these questions and more answered in this complete preview of the 2011-2012 AFC South.

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