Last season, the Houston Texans won their first division title in franchise history. With a record of 10-6, Houston only edged out the 9-7 Tennessee Titans for the AFC South crown by a single game, but records did not quite indicate how lop-sided this division truly was (and is). In both talent, experienced coaching, and cohesion, the Houston Texans are by far the top-dog in this pack.
Finally emerging from division dominance by the Indianapolis Colts since the inception of the AFC South, the Texans took the next step in 20011. Working off of their best record in franchise history, Houston won their first ever playoff game. Much of this was done while suffering injuries to their star running back, wide out, and top two quarterbacks. If the Texans can avoid this injuries, the sky is the limit. If not, then the AFC South could truly be up for grabs.
The Titans put up nine wins with a quarterback controversy and a Chris Johnson holdout, that led to a slow start for the big-time running back. Chris Johnson is expected to bounce back, but if not, this team is facing major concerns. The quarterback position has not been answered with success, and its hard to throw the ball when your main wide out is facing suspension for eight separate run-ins with the law.
The other two teams in the AFC South won only seven games combined last season. Yes, the Indianapolis Colts fell apart completely after the loss of Peyton Manning to injury, resulting in a total overhaul of the horseshoe. The upside looks to be as good, if not better, than most expected at their new quarterback position, but quarterbacks don’t play defense. The Colts were at the bottom of the league in all three facets of the game, and have since lost ten former starters from their 2011 roster. Any progress would be an improvement, but that’s not saying much.
The Jacksonville Jaguars just recently made it through their own running back holdout drama. Aside from that, you have a new head coach and a first-round draft pick who’s facing his second DUI charge from an off-season party night. The Jaguars also have a new owner, who denies the consistent rumors of the team moving to Los Angeles. If the Jaguars start slow, then those whispers about a move will become much louder.
The Texans are the only AFC South team whose starting quarterback has played more than one season in the NFL. Only Houston has a head coach that has been with the team longer than a single season. The structure of the AFC South hierarchy has changed drastically. This will be the best chance for the Texans to run away with this division in scoring and in win totals. If Houston falls off or doesn’t step up, then it’s anyone’s division title to win. The AFC South may not be the worst division in the NFL, but it might be the most lop-sided.