NFL ‘08 Predictions: AFC South

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Indianapolis Colts

Peyton Manning's injury aside, the Colts look to be in decent health heading into 2008. Health was one thing that kept them from rising to the heights of defending Super Bowl champions in 2007. Marvin Harrison missed 11 games, and Dwight Freeney, Dallas Clark, and Joseph Addai also missed time nursing injuries. While injury can occur to any play at any time it seems, missing as many key players as the Colts did made winning games exceptionally difficult.

The Colts' defense has really stepped up to become the big brother of the team, rather than the weak sister it seemed to be for so many years. With Freeney back and dominant safety Bob Sanders roaming around, the Colts could be back to their heights of glory poised to win another Super Bowl. Of course that all depends on how No. 18 can recover and avoid setbacks.

Prediction: 14-2

Jacksonville Jaguars

As usual, the Jaguars are set to run the ball and stop the run. With one of the best running back duos in the league, Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, they look to once again dominate in tandem. Last year, they nearly recorded a combined 2,000-yards rushing; look for them to do the same in 2008.

David Garrard put together a good year in 2007 that was based on one basic principle: don't make mistakes. This was abundantly achieved with his 18 touchdown passes and only 3 interceptions, but Garrard was unable to play mistake-free football in the playoffs. His woeful performance against Pittsburgh almost cost the Jaguars the game, and against the Patriots, it just wasn't the Jags' day. If there's a team that's ready to rise to challenge the big names of the AFC, it is the Jacksonville Jaguars. Look for them to be a certain wild card pick and to be tough to beat in the playoffs.

Prediction: 12-4

Houston Texans

The Texans have been a team for the past few years that have played the role of spoiler very well, winning games they should not have won, yet never having a winning record. In the last four weeks of the 2007 season, the Texans went 3-1, defeating Tampa Bay, Denver, and Jacksonville, while losing to Indianapolis. The win against Denver was the final straw that knocked the Broncos out of contention. The win against Tampa ended a four-game Buccaneer winning streak that sent them into a tail-spin and an early exit in the playoffs to the future Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

In 2006, the Texans beat the Jaguars twice, and stopped Manning and the Colts in Week 16, which denied the Colts a first-round bye and made them win an extra game on the road to the Super Bowl.

One of the most interesting names in your fantasy draft was probably Matt Schaub, Houston's promising quarterback. Schaub wasn't amazing in 2007, but with Andre Johnson at his right or left arm, Schaub should be all right, provided he has more than 1.5 seconds to get rid of the ball.

Prediction: 8-8

Tennessee Titans

Last year when the Titans could barely beat the Colts' B-team, it led me to believe they were on a downward slope. Vince Young has never become the explosive, playmaking quarterback he could be and now he's reaching an age at which he's not going to get any faster, which will continue to make him increasingly ineffective as a run/pass option. The rest of the offense seems a bit young and inexperienced to make a realistic run at the playoffs. If the Titans are going any place soon, they'll need some major help from their strongest link, the defensive line, with Jevon Kearse, Albert Haynesworth, and Kyle Vanden Bosch.

But in all likelihood, 2008 will prove to be the year in which the Titans and the Texans trade places at the bottom of the division.

Prediction: 6-10


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Comments and Conversation

September 3, 2008


I think your take on the Jags and Titans is right on, but the Colts going 14-2? Come on. I think this is the year that the Colts slip a little, maybe go 10-6. Texans might go 8-8, but I see them being slightly better than that, 9-7.

September 4, 2008

Andrew Jones:

KDog - The Colts going 10-6 could very well be, but last year they were plagued by injury worse than perhaps any other team in the NFL. If less injuries occur, they could be right back to where they were in 2006 as Super Bowl Champs. A lot depends on the health of the main guns, Manning, Harrison, Addai, Wayne and Freeeney. If they’re all healthy, 14-2 is in sight in my book, if not 10-6 indeed.
I’m with you on the Texans, but they’re a team I’m going to have to see to believe. I’m not going above .500 quite yet.

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