So many storylines add to the confusion of the AFC South. Will Peyton Manning be back for game one? Will the 3-4 defense Wade Phillips has installed in Houston improve the Texans? Can Blaine Gabbert be the man in Jacksonville? Finally what direction will the Tennessee Titans go under Mike Munchak?
- Houston will do something this season they have never done before. They will win the division. Head Coach Gary Kubiak made a move to save his job by hiring for Dallas coach Wade Phillips to handle a pathetic defense. The 3-4 should be just what the doctor ordered to turn loose a defense that is ready to dominate. Arian Foster’s hamstring is just as harmful to the Texans as Manning’s injury is to Indy. This division might be decided by which injured player comes back quicker. The bet here is Foster. Take the Houston Texans to win it at 11-5.
- Indianapolis has not been in this situation for years. Could they be looking at the final days of Peyton Manning’s career? If so, they have shown in the pre season they have nothing behind him to rebuild with. They were so convinced they had problems at QB they went out and brought Kerry Collins out of retirement to play for Manning until he comes back. A neck injury is not something to fool with. This season might be a struggle for the Colts, both on and off the field. But if they get Manning back in the first month, look for the Colts to finish second in the division at 9-7 and out of the running for a wild card.
- Jacksonville head coach Jack Del Rio was brought back with one command..Win Now! Well that isn’t going to happen so the Jags might be the first team this season to change coaches. Del Rio just doesn’t have what it take and is looking to groom a rookie at the QB position in Blaine Gabbert out of Missouri. If the season craters quickly look for the Jags to pursue a new home in LA. Then it will implode. Not a good year for the Jags. Look at 5-11.
- Also at 5-11 is the Tennessee Titans. For the first time in 20 years, the franchise will have a new coach. Gone is Jeff Fisher and in is former offensive lineman Mike Munchak. Munchak looks to build upon the franchise stability imposed by Fisher. The QB upheaval (Vince Young) is gone, but will they go with rookie Jake Locher? Locher was outstanding in pre season and Munchak may go with him. Chris Johnson is back in the fold and they will rely on him to carry the offense for most, if not all, of the season. Look for the Titans in last place.
At least two, if not three coaches are fighting for their jobs in this division. 2011 will be a fight but 2012 might look totally different. Until then, take Houston.