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Monday, October 25, 2010

NFL Trimester Report: AFC South "Contender or Pretender"

Many experts (and some the 'not quite' experts) proclaimed the AFC South to be the most competitive division in the NFL, and that prediction has somewhat held true as the division has a combined 15 victories to date. Loaded with play makers on every team, any game played within this division has potential to be a great one. On paper, that is. Now on to the review of the division so far...

Tennessee (5-2)
The Tennessee Titans have been able to simply get the job done so far. They feature arguably the NFL's most electric player in running back Chris Johnson who can break a huge run at any moment. The most significant difference this season has been the play of QB Vince Young who is among the league leaders in passing efficiency. Kenny Britt is beginning to look like a legit no. 1 receiver. One glaring weakness in the pass defense, but if they can continue to limit turnovers and keep opposing teams out of the end zone, the Titans should be in good shape for the rest of the season. They still have to face Indy a coupe times late in the season which could determine who takes the division. Contender

Houston (4-2)
The Houston Texans can score points. Period. QB Matt Schaub is showing that his big season last year was no fluke. Wide receiver Andre Johnson is, well, Andre Johnson. The biggest surprise has been running back Arian Foster, who has been outstanding this season after closing out '09 on a high note. Offense is clearly not an issue. The Texans troubles lie with their defense. They are dead last in defending the pass and 31st in total yards allowed. And in this division that is definitely not going to get it done. Pretender

Indianapolis (4-2)
As long as Peyton Manning is their quarterback, the Indianapolis Colts will always be ranked among the best teams in the league. The man is an absolute surgeon out on the field. It's amazing what the offense accomplishes with such a poor running game. RB Joseph Addai may be on pace for over 1,000 yards but the Colts still rank in the bottom 5 in rushing. Add in a season-ending injury to TE Dallas Clark, and the pressure is definitely on Manning to find ways to get spread the ball to Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon. The Colts defense is shaky and gives up a ton of yards on the ground, doesn't force many turnovers and hasn't really generated a strong pass rush. They also have lost their first two division games. But in the end, you really can't feel safe betting against Manning. Contender

Jacksonville (3-4)
So who are the Jaguars exactly? Are they the team who beat the Colts on a 59-yard field goal, or the team that has lost their last two games by a combined score of 52-23? The latter gets my vote. The only facet of the game the Jags have been consistent in is inconsistency (let that marinate for a second). QB David Garrard is as erratic as they come and self-proclaimed fantasy football star RB Maurice Jones-Drew has been anything but. And the defense? The only defensive unit worse in the NFL are the winless Buffalo Bills. Yikes. Pretender


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