Community Tailgate: Who Will Win AFC South?

We’re still several weeks away from the start of battles on the NFL gridiron, but there’s no offseason when it comes to debate amongst fans. Earlier this summer, we launched a new series here at PFR that will be known as the Community Tailgate. What’s the Community Tailgate all about? Well, it’s pretty simple. Every weekday, we’ll highlight one of the top stories going on in the NFL. Then, in the comment section below, we want you to weigh in and let us know what you think.

Of course, while the debate may get spirited, we ask that it all stays respectful. If you need a reminder of our rules, please check out our commenting policy. Basically, we ask that you refrain from inappropriate language, personal insults, and attacks. Speaking of commenting: we’ve made it much easier to leave a comment here at Pro Football Rumors. You are no longer required to be a registered user – simply put in your name, email address, and comment and submit.

As the 2015 season inches closer, we’re examining each NFL division, asking you which team you expect to finish atop the East, North, South, and West. Having already taken a closer look at the East and North divisions, along with the NFC South, we’re shifting our focus to the AFC South, perhaps the league’s most lopsided division.

According to betting site, no NFL team is more likely to win its division than the Colts, who are even heavier favorites in the AFC South than the Packers, Seahawks, or Patriots are in their respective divisions. That’s not a surprise. After all, the Colts have won the division by multiple games in each of the last two seasons, averaging 11 wins per year while their division rivals average just 4.5 wins.

There’s not much reason to expect the Colts to fall off in 2015 either, with Andrew Luck continuing to improve, and veterans like Frank Gore and Andre Johnson now at his disposal, along with first-round receiver Phillip Dorsett. There are still some questions on the defensive side of the ball in Indianapolis, but as long as Luck stays healthy, those defensive shortcomings may not be a factor until the postseason.

While the Colts aren’t necessarily one of the league’s most dominant teams, the lack of competition in the AFC South contributes to Indianapolis’ strong odds to win the division. The Titans and Jaguars finished 2-14 and 3-13 respectively a year ago, and while they may not be quite that dismal again this year, it’s hard to imagine either team making a playoff push, even with some encouraging free agent additions in Jacksonville, and new quarterback Marcus Mariota in Tennessee.

That leaves the Texans as the team most likely to challenge the Colts for the AFC South crown, as they did a year ago, finishing 9-7. J.J. Watt has a greater impact on a given game than any other defender in the league, and a healthy Jadeveon Clowney would make that Houston D even more dangerous. But there’s still no clear-cut solution at the quarterback position, where Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett will battle for the No. 1 job. Additionally, with Johnson in Indianapolis, Arian Foster and DeAndre Hopkins will be asked to carry a significant load on offense, and the unit could be in real trouble if either player gets hurt.

What do you think? Will the Texans knock the Colts out of the top spot? Will the Jaguars or Texans make a surprise run for the division? Or will the Colts cruise to another division title? Who do you expect to win the AFC South? Weigh in below in the comment section with your thoughts!

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3 comments on “Community Tailgate: Who Will Win AFC South?

  1. Eric Roe

    The Texans will make things interesting with that defense, especially if Mallett can provide competent QB play…Hoyer won’t give them much and is merely a placeholder…but it’s hard to argue against Andrew Luck and the Colts. I think it will only be by a game or two, but the Colts eek out the division title if their o-line can keep pass rushers off of Luck a little bit more than last year. All offense worked for Peyton and Co. for a number of years, and it’ll continue to work for Luck and Co. with a slightly more competitive this year, but still relatively weak division.

    • Luke Adams

      This is basically how I feel about the division too. I like most of the Texans’ roster quite a bit, but they don’t have a sure thing (or even a starter, yet) at the most important position on the field. So unless Mallett or Hoyer has an unexpectedly productive year, the team’s overall upside is limited.


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