Monday, September 04, 2006

AFC South Predictions

Indianapolis Colts
So once again I see many experts on the major sports websites picking the Colts to win it all. It's like last year never happened. Remember the Colts were the hot pick then as well. In some ways I can understand this need/want to pick the Colts to finally do it. Their defense has come a long way in two years. I mean they have Freeney and Mathis on the D-line and Cato June will headline a group of linebackers who if not huge will at least be quick. The secondary has Bob Sanders who is in that Roy Williams, Sean Taylor "leave em convulsing" vein as a safety. It's the offense that worries me. Weird huh? Payton will be his usual self and rack up a ton of yards and TDs. Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne will be great as well. And their running game won't suffer that much of a drop without James. Payton may get sacked a few more times (James was good at picking up blitzes) but still they'll score enough points to win games during the season. So what's the problem then you ask? To that I would say, have you not watched each of the Colt's elimination games the last few years? Manning has looked terrible. He is truly a head case in the playoffs. I simply can't accept that he is the best QB in the land when he tends to stink when it counts. And believe me I want to. I root for the Colts every year. After my Rams, the Colts are probably the team I have watched the most and cheered for the most. After the Rams , they are probably the team that has pissed me off the most as well. So until Manning shows the cojones of Tom Brady (may he and his Patriots rot in hell), I just can't believe in the power of the horseshoe.

Division Prediction: 1st
Playoff Prediction: AFC Championship game
and a suicide watch for Manning afterwards

Jacksonville Jaguars
I hope the Jags really make some noise this year. I like them as a team and I want to pick them for a Wild Card but I think that the Ravens or the Dolphins will just slip by them for that final spot. They look great again on defense with linebacker Mike Peterson leading a very tough group. Their offense will need to show they can score more points this year though. Jimmy Smith is no longer a safety valve for Leftwich. And speaking of Lord Byron (as some in the Jacksonville fan base have at times called him), I think he is getting better as a QB and has ended any mini-QB controversy that may have been there last season. I was one of those people that wanted to see if backup QB David Garrard could do better. Garrard has had plenty of opportunity to show his stuff and has blown chunks. Leftwich is the man and he has some promising rookies that could develop in TE Mercedes Lewis and RB Maurice Drew. Still, like last year the offense will be inconsistent at times and ultimately doom them.

Division Prediction: 1st
Playoff Prediction: Just miss

Tennessee Titans
It's not a good omen for a season when Kerry Collins can be brought in just before the real action starts and become your starter. At least I'm guessing like everyone else that he might be the starter at some point. Volek must have really pissed Fisher off. Some think Vince Young could see action this season. I'm holding off on that one but realistically, although talented, the offense doesn't inspire a lot of confidence right now. I do like Givens and Bennett at WR and Troupe and Kinney at TE but I'm not sure their backfield is going to be as good as people think. Chris Brown and Travis Henry have been inconsistent at times and Lendale White needs some more carries to see what he can do. Defensively they are average and pretty much all people remember last year about them was overblown clips of Pac-man Jones getting burned. Defensive backs should never be loudmouths because it doesn't matter how good you are, with rules favoring receivers, you will get burned at times. Champ Bailey gets burned too but you don't see him getting scorched in the press for it like Jones did last year. Just a thought.

Division Prediction: 3rd
Playoff Prediction: Another year at home

Houston Texans
The sack stat is the key here. Will it haunt them like last season (68 sacks)? If the O-line improves, which I think they will slightly, then Carr may actually get the ball out of his hands. I would say this is his make-or-break year. If he doesn't show significant improvement then he is going the way of Joey Harrington. Of course they should have taken Bush, but they didn't, and they will now have to live with Wali Lundy or newly acquired Ron Dayne as their starter at tailback (Davis injured and Antowain Smith cut). Yeah I had never heard of Lundy either. Glad that Mario Williams thing is working out so well. Actually that's not really fair. Hey Williams could become a sack monster and revitalize their defense. Or he could end up being the biggest bust ever while he watches Reggie Bush zoom all over the field and pick up endorsement contracts. So you know, no pressure.

Division Prediction: 4th
Playoff Prediction: looking to the draft again

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