Jacksonville Jaguars: Can They Hold Up in the Tough AFC South?

David Nelson@JvilleJaguarsCorrespondent IIIMay 7, 2009

JACKSONVILLE, FL - MAY 1:  Coach Jack Del Rio of the Jacksonville Jaguars talks to the media May 1, 2009 at a team minicamp near Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

There are a few divisions where no matter who you play, it's going to be a tough game.

Unfortunately for the Jaguars, they are in one of those divisions in the AFC South. 

Looking ahead to the next season, the Jaguars were very fortunate to see that games outside of the division are looking to be on the easier side.  However, there are still six games that are needed to be played within their own division.

The Colts, Titans, and Texans.  Three teams that have no signs of being weak this season. 

The Colts are, once again, the scariest team in this division with Peyton Manning.  Since the beginning of Manning's career, he has proved to be one of the best, and doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime too soon.

The Jaguars open up their regular season schedule with a game at Indianapolis.  This will be a huge game to open up the year, and could establish the Jaguars attitude for the season. 

The Colts have made some moves this off season.  Releasing one of the game's best wide receivers in Marvin Harrison, and drafting the very talented Donald Brown from Connecticut.

Brown gives this team another weapon at running back, and the release of Harrison probably won't have too great of an impact because they still have the very talented Reggie Wayne.

The Colts are still a great team, and the way to beating them is by getting to Peyton Manning.  If the Jaguars can get their pass rushers (Harvey, Hayward, Groves) to Manning, then this team will always have a great shot to beat the Colts.

Next is last year's AFC South champion, the Tennessee Titans.

Surprising everyone by going 13-3, the Titans played tremendous football last year.  Led by their defense, most notably Albert Haynesworth and Cortland Finnegan, the Titans played hard-nosed football and were looking great until their home playoff loss to the Ravens.

The Titans go into this year with the majority of the same team as last year, but made some big moves this off season. 

The releasing of Haynesworth landed him in Washington for the next seven years. 

The Titans then went into the draft and selected Kenny Britt out of Rutgers.  Very talented wide receiver that adds to a decent group.

The Titans re-signed quarterback Kerry Collins for the next two years, and are hopeful that he can continue his fairly good play.

The Titans are going into next season with a good team, but not as good as a year ago.  They still have plenty of weapons in Chris Johnson and LenDale White, and a very good defense led by Cortland Finnegan. 

The hole that Haynesworth left will not be filled near as well as it was with him.  He was a huge factor to this team, and was a huge reason why they were able to get to Garrard so much last year. 

The Jaguars will be able to compete with the Titans in both games this season, and there is no reason why they cannot beat them in both games. 

The Titans have big expectations this year, and it will be interesting to see if they can live up to them.

The last team in the division is the underdogs, the Houston Texans.

The Texans get better every single year, and this could be the year that they finally put all the pieces together. 

After being fairly quiet during the off season, the Texans grabbed two good defensive players in the draft. 

Both Cushing and Barwin should be able to contribute immediately, and add to a team that already has some very talented players on defense. 

The Texans' success will ride on the arm of quarterback Matt Schaub.  Schaub seems to get injured every year, but if he stays healthy then this team has a chance to hit double-digit wins.

With two very scary play makers in Andre Johnson and Steve Slaton, the Texans look very promising for the future, the question is whether or not the future is now in Houston.

The Texans always give the Jaguars plenty of challenges during the season, even when they are having bad years.  They are the pesky team that just won't quit.

The battle between these two teams this year should be great ones, and it is hard to say whether or not one team has the edge on the other. 

The AFC South is one of the toughest divisions in football and that means plenty of exciting football games for next year.  If the Jaguars can pull off three or four wins in this competitive division, it could mean a big year for the team.


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