The AFC South was one of the worst divisions in the NFL last season. Jacksonville finished with the No. 1 overall draft pick and Tennessee only won one game inside the division.
Houston and Indianapolis picked up the slack, each winning 12 and 11 games, respectively.
2013 will be the same story. You will see the bottom dwellers stay low while Houston and Indianapolis battle for supremacy.
2012 AFC South Standings
- Houston Texans (12-4)
- Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
- Tennessee Titans (6-10)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)
The only two victories Jacksonville claimed last season came within the division which only further proves that the AFC South was one of the worst divisions in football.
But they are young. They have talent from high draft picks. They have quality on both sides of the ball. But this is a quarterback’s league, and the Jaguars don’t have a franchise quarterback.
Blaine Gabbert will most likely be under center to start the season. He is coming off an injury-plagued season, racking up 1,662 yards, nine touchdowns and six interceptions. In his career, he has passed for 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
Gabbert’s numbers aren’t horrific, but nothing jumps out at you as spectacular. The drafting of Luke Joeckel (No. 1 overall draft pick) will improve the offensive line which allowed 50 sacks in 2012. Hopefully this allows Gabbert to stay healthy.
The Jaguars are hoping Gabbert has a healthy season so they can fully evaluate him. As of now, on the outside looking in, there is nothing that tells me that the Jaguars will do anything well this year.
Tennessee is simply an average football team. They have some skill players who flash brilliance, but not much stands out. They finished 22nd in passing yards, 21st in rushing yards, 26th in passing yards allowed and 24th in rushing yards allowed.
Can they make an improvement in all facets of the game? I don’t see it happening.
Chris Johnson had another quality season in the league, rushing for 1,243 yards, but he only managed to get in the end zone six times on the ground.
Jake locker is the team’s starting quarterback and he had more interception than touchdowns, 10-to-11.
This is a very mediocre team.
I said before the 2011 NFL Draft that Andrew Luck would have a much better career than Robert Griffin III and I’m not budging one bit.
Griffin may have the explosive, play-making ability, but Luck understands his role as a pocket passer and delivers the ball where it needs to be.
Luck passed for 4,374 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2012 as a rookie. Not many people can say that they had more touchdowns than interceptions while passing for more than 4,300 yards in their rookie season.
This team has a few new looks. Dwight Freeney left for San Diego so filling that pass-rushing void on the end had to be addressed so the Colts went out and got Bjoern Werner with their first round selection.
He won’t fill the void, but he will help bring the young Colts a new life on the defensive line.
Indianapolis will still play second fiddle in the AFC South, but it’s just a matter of time before they start owning the division year after year.
Houston will once again have one of the best teams in the AFC. Matt Schaub has proved to be a solid regular season quarterback, putting up more than 4,000 yards in the only three seasons where he has played in all 16 games.
Arian Foster’s health is a concern, seeing how he hasn’t played this preseason. He rushed for 1,424 yards and 15 touchdowns last season so his presence in the lineup will be paramount to the Texans’ success.
The problem for Houston is postseason results. They have been a club that has failed to get over the hump in the playoffs.
With New England down on talent without Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker, Baltimore losing a solid group of players following a Super Bowl and teams like Pittsburgh possibly heading into a mediocre season, this could be the year Houston gets over the hump.
All that stands in their way is Denver.
We’ll learn a lot about whether or not Houston is a legitimate Super Bowl contender after this season concludes.