August 2, 2012

3-Way NFL Preview: AFC South

Houston Texans
W17L:  10-6  (4th seed, loses to Baltimore in Wild Card Round)
Forecaster:  10-6  (4th seed, loses to New York Jets in Wild Card Round)
Random:  7-9
W17L's Take:  The Texans finally made the playoffs last year, but I'm expecting a small letdown this season.  In an awful AFC South division, Houston can still win 10 games and make the playoffs, but I don't see them getting past the Ravens.
Forecaster's Take:  The Texans are a good but not great team.  They get a lot of first downs on runs, and don't give up many rushing yards.

Jacksonville Jaguars
W17L:  6-10
Forecaster:  7-9
Random:  11-5  (2nd seed, loses to Cincinnati in Divisional Round)

W17L's Take:  The Jaguars seem to be very content with mediocrity.  I'm not saying the players don't want to be great, but the organization never seems to make a big move to make the team better.  They just send out a decent team, fill half of their seats, and bring in the money.  Maurice Jones-Drew is an awesome running back, but with Jacksonville's passing game, they won't make the playoffs.
Forecaster's Take:  Don't listen to the Random projection.  I'm not buying the Jags as a playoff team, let alone the second seed.  They will be better than last year, but don't score enough to be a contender.

Tennessee Titans
W17L:  7-9 
Forecaster:  6-10
Random:  8-8
W17L's Take:  Just like the Jaguars, the Titans have great players in all the wrong places.  Namely, at running back.  We were surprised when Tennessee went 9-7 last year, so 7-9 won't be that surprising.

Forecaster's Take:  The Titans should drop off a lot from last year, mostly because of their inability to run for first downs and to keep opponents from throwing the ball.

Indianapolis Colts
W17L:  5-11
Forecaster:  2-14
Random:  6-10

W17L's Take:  Before 2011, the Colts had a ridiculous habit of winning 10 games every year.  Did Peyton Manning have a lot to do with that?  Of course.  But I don't think the Colts suddenly got worse over one random offseason.  With Peyton, I said they would have had a good shot at the playoffs this year.  With Andrew Luck, this team will stay right where it thinks it is, near the bottom of the league.

Forecaster's Take:  Surprisingly, the Colts aren't the worst team in this projection.  But with such a poor offense and an unwillingness to run for first downs, they are a close second.

For an explanation of the Forecaster and Random projections, go here.  Teams are ranked by total wins over the three projections.

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