In the fifth installment of Breaking down the NFL, I will be taking a look at the AFC south. I will analyze each teams offense, defense and providing my prediction on how they will finish in the 2013 season.
- Offense: Matt Schaub threw for 4,008 yards with 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions last year. The team welcomes DeAndre Hopkins to the team via the draft. He will team with Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels to provide some major headaches for defenses this year. Arian Foster returns in the backfield after rushing for 1,424 yards with 15 touchdowns last year.
- Defense: The Texans will again be running a 3-4 defense under coordinator Wade Phillips. Upfront will be Earl Smith at nose with Antonio Smith and JJ Watt at the ends. Watt had 20.5 sacks last season and will be a hoss to deal with again this year. The linebackers will line up with Whitney Mercilus and Brooks Reed on the outside and Darryl Sharpton and Brian Cushing on the inside. In the secondary, the Texans signed Ed Reed in the offseason. He will team with Danieal Manning at safety. Hard hitting DJ Swearinger was brought on via the draft to provide depth here. Reed has been dinged up the last few years so he will be needed. The corners will be Kareem Jackson and Jonathan Joseph.
- Offense: The Colts lose former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians to the Arizona Cardinals. They do, however, return Andrew Luck. Luck threw for 4,374 yards with 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.
Under new coordinator, Pep Hamilton, it is expected that the offense will be moving toward a West Coast Offense with short passes and power running. The receivers will be T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne with Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener returning at tightend. Vick Ballard and Donald Brown are the running backs but an upgrade will be needed here.
- Defense: The Colts also will be running a 3-4 defense. They will have Josh Champman at nose with Corey Redding and recently acquired from the 49ers Ricky Jean-Francois at the ends. They will probably have first round pick Bjorn Werner on the outside with Robert Mathis on the other side. Kavell Conner and Jerrell Freeman will be on the inside. The corners will be Greg Toler and Vontae Davis. They will be backed up by safeties LaRon Landry and Antoine Bethea.
- Offense: The Jaguars have a problem at quarterback. They are still looking for one. The jury is out on Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne and it ain’t looking good folks. Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts return at receiver. Blackmon is facing a suspension from the league so they are dealing with that as well as running back Maurice Jones-Drew recovering from injury.
- Defense: The Jaguars returns one the leagues worst defenses. Jason Babin and Jeremy Mincey combined for 10 sacks last year. Roy Miller and Tyson Alualu return in the middle of the line. The linebackers have leading tackler Paul Posluszny with probably Geno Hayes and Russell Allen on the outside. The secondary will made up of Marcus Trufant, Dwight Lowery, Dwayne Gratz, and Jonathan Cyprien.
- Offense: The success of the offense depends on Jake Locker making some improvement going into his third season. Kenny Britt and Kendall Hunter return out wide. The titans signed Delanie Walker in the offseason at tight end. Chris Johnson will again be at running back.
- Defense: Derek Morgan and Kameron Wimbley return at the ends. The defensive tackles will be Jurrell Casey along with Sammie Lee Hill. The linebackers are Akeem Ayers, Jason McCourty, and Zach Brown. The secondary will be made up of Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty at the corners, with Michael Griffin and Bernard Pollard the safeties.
Here are my picks for the order of finish for the AFC South:
1. Houston Texans
2. Indianapolis Colts
3. Tennessee Titans
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Again, as usual we want to know what you think. Let us know in the comments.