The AFC South Is the Toughest Division In Football

Corey McSweeneyAnalyst IMay 8, 2009

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 24:  Assistant head coach Jim Caldwell of the Indianapolis Colts looks on against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on December 24, 2005 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Colts 28-13.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

It was a great time to be a moviegoer in 1994. You had three absolute classics released: Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, and The Shawshank Redemption.

Those three are arguably the strongest trio to compete for the Academy Award for Best Picture ever.

Then you have 2008. A movie about “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” in India? Brad Pitt ages backwards? Are you kidding me?

1994 is what it feels like to be a fan of an AFC South team. There’s not one bad team in the division.

In the AFC North, you have two, the Browns and Bengals. (What a combo Ohioans have to root for. I guess that’s you get for being a Bucks fan. Couldn’t help myself.) In the AFC West you have the Raiders.

I think that is all that needs to be said about the West.

The Redskins are a whole bunch of contracts with no chemistry in the NFC East, the NFC North has the Lions (sorry Dad), the NFC South has the New Orleans “we have no defense” Saints, and the NFL West has, well everyone except the Cardinals, maybe the Seahawks if they can rebound.

The only other division is the AFC East, and the Bills are borderline and could blow up if TO decides to not change his ways, which is a safer bet than $25.00 on Tiger.

The Tennessee Titans were 13-3 last year and while losing Albert Haynesworth will hurt them, they still have Chris Johnson, Keith Bulluck, Chris Hope, Kerry Collins, and Jeff Fisher, along with tons of other parts Fisher has taken copious amounts of time to fit perfectly into his system. Sigh.

While Jacksonville was not up to snuff last year, I will have a hard time counting them out this year. I saw what they’ve done to the Colts, especially Maurice Jones Drew, and he is getting starter carries this year. Great. I also feel David Garrard will rebound and thought it was totally ridiculous when the draft talk was that they would take a QB after one bad year from him. Remember what he did to Pittsburgh twice in 2007, and the way he carved them up late in the playoff game from that year? Please. He will be just fine. (I can’t believe I’m saying good things about these teams. What have I become?)

Then you have Houston. These will be the guys that most people will pick last, but they might have a more explosive offense than the Colts at times and have taken tremendous strides in strengthening their defense. Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans are great, Dunta Robinson is solid and Amobi Okoye is growing into his role in the middle of that D-Line. The O-line is strong with bookend Eric Winston and they have Steve Slaton and Matt Schaub throwing to Andre the Giant Johnson.

And the Colts? Well, we know what the Colts have.

Great quarterback? Check.

Good offensive line? Check.

Strong receivers in Wayne, Clark and Gonzalez? Check.

A strong running game with the addition of Donald Brown? Check.

Strong pass defense? Double Check.

Strong rush defense? Well, getting there, but check.

 I’m telling you, this will be the best division in football this year.

Too bad for the Colts.

Regarding their playoff chances, my early feelings are that second place and a second straight wild card berth is in store. My gut tells me that one of these three strong competitors will pull things together and win this thing, as much as it kills me to say.

It might not even be Tennessee.

However, I do feel the Colts will get to the playoffs. At least they won’t have to compete with Shawshank.


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