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GZL14 | AFC South | Bigger in Texas?
By James Paronne
Special to gzl-football.com

GZL DIVISION PREVIEW
AFC South
Wednesday, February 20th, 2014
James Paronne, GreenZone Media Committee






Houston Texans

Key Additions:
QB Kyle Orton (Amnesty)
OLB Thomas Davis (FA)
OT Donald Penn (Trade)
CB Nigel Malone (Draft)
DT Kawaan Short (Draft)
OG Dallas Thomas (Draft)

Key Losses:
QB Matt Shaub (Trade)
CB DeAngelo Hall (Trade)
OT Eric Winston (Cut)
DE Jason Pierre Paul (Trade)
FS Nigel McDaniel (Trade)

2013 Recap:
The Texans were 11-5 last year and featured one of the best HBís in GZL in Arian Foster. Foster rushed for 1,862 yards and averaged 5.09 YPC. Reuben Randle was the leading WR with 65 catches for 1,259 yards. The Texansí problem last year was their QB play. Veteran Matt Schaub was injured AGAIN and second year QB Terence Bennett was forced into the starting role. Most felt that a healthy Schaub meant a Superbowl appearance for the Texans. Bennett just could not get the job done. He tossed 13 TDís to 18 INTís. The offensive line was incredible, allowing only a total of 22 sacks all year. The defense played well at times and was led by LB Brian Cushing and his 126 tackles and an incredible 21 of those for losses. DeAngelo Hall led the secondary with 5 INTís. DEís JPP and Jonathan Massaquoi tied for the team lead with 7 sacks. The Texans lost in the WC round to the Dolphins.

2014 Outlook:
The Texans have turned their roster inside out. Gone are Matt Schaub, Eric Winston, DeAngelo Hall and JPP. Kyle Orton and Donald Penn were brought in to try and replace them. The Texans lost some key players, but anytime you have Arian Foster and Brian Cushing on your roster, you are going to be a team that is in contention every game. Orton is a veteran leader and Bennett is going to only get better. Rookie LG Dallas Thomas is going to make a great OL even better and rookie CB Nigel Malone is going to make this defense even stronger.

MVP:
HB Arian Foster


Prediction:
(12-4) The Texans take a big loss with Shaub, but they have had plenty of experience playing without him in recent years. It remains to be seen if they can compete with the tough teams around them, but on paper there is no reason to believe they can't carry their winning traditions over to a new QB.



Tennessee Titans

Key Additions:
HB Matt Forte (Trade)
C Mike Pouncey (Trade)
WR Robert Meachem (FA)
OT Brennan Williams (Draft)
WR Dave Aikman (Draft)
P Quinn Sharp (Draft)
K Dustin Hopkins (Draft)

Key Losses:
HB Chris Johnson (Trade)
WR Andre Johnson (Trade)
WR Mario Manningham (Trade)
CB Kareem Jackson (Trade)

2013 Recap:
The Titans finished 14-2 and had the best overall record in GZL. The beat the Raiders in the divisional round, only to lose to the eventual Superbowl champion Chargers in the AFC Championship game. QB Christopher Henderson had a solid year, throwing for 3,424 yards, 25 TDís to only 15 INTís. Chris Johnson rushed for 1,371 yards and WRís Kenny Britt and Brandon Tate both broke 1,000 yards receiving and scored 8 TDís each. The offensive line may be the best in all the league. They allowed only 19 sacks. As good as the offense was, the defense was lights out. CB Ladarius Webb had 12 INTís and the team had 36 total. LB Jermaine Cunningham led the team with 11 sacks and 20 tackles for loss.

2014 Outlook:
The Titans made league news when they traded their star HB Chris Johnson to the Bears for their star HB Matt Forte. Also gone from the Titans are all world LB Jermaine Cunningham and 2 offensive lineman, C Jeff Faine and RG Harvey Dehl as well as WR Mario Manningham. C Mike Pouncey and RG Richie Incognito were brought in to replace those linemen. WR Robert Meachem was brought in to replace Manningham. The Titans also drafted a beast in RT Brennan Williams. Rookie kicker Dustin Hopkins was drafted 39th overall to replace veteran Jay Feeley. This team has reloaded their gun and are going to be tough to beat.

MVP:
HB Matt Forte

Prediction:
(10-6) I love the addition of Matt Forte and Brennan Williams to this team, and I think they win a Wild Card. They are going to be tough. I think Henderson is an elite QB, but has to stay healthy. As much as I love this team, I think Houston is a bit better and have to only pick the Titans second.



Jacksonville Jaguars

Key Additions:
OLB Akeem Jordan (Trade)
DT Pat Sims (Trade)
QB Carson Palmer (Trade)
G Robert Gallery (Trade)
HB Bull Griggs (Draft)

Key Losses:
OLB Thomas Davis (Cut)
CB Vontae Davis (Trade)
HB DeAngelo Williams (Cut)
DT B.J. Raji (Trade)

2013 Recap:
The Jaguars went 4-12. They had 6 players throw a pass last year. Philip Rives could not stay healthy and only played in 7 games. He was the teams leading passer with 1,859 yards and 10 TDís to 8 INTís. HB DeAngelo Williams rushed for a team high 1,178 yards, but only scored 3 TDís. WR Jeff Fuller had 66 catches for 1,051 yards and 6 TDís. The offensive line allowed 36 sacks. On defense, LB Patrick Willis had an incredible 130 tackles with 23 for a loss. CB Vonte Davis had 4 INTís and 29 deflections. LB Ernie Sims and LE Tyson Alualu tied with 7 sacks each.

2014 Outlook:
The Jaguars lost too many key players to make much of a push at the playoffs. They lost LB Thomas Davis, CB Vonte Davis, RG Eric Steinbach, HB DeAngelo Williams, SS Tyvon Branch and DT B.J. Raji. They did bring in DT Pat Sims and RG Robert Gallery. Their QB play was down due to injuries last year, so the Jags went and signed QB Carson Palmer as a backup to Rivers. This gives them 2 quality QBís this year to combat any injuries. They drafted HB Bull Griggs 1.10 to replace Williams.

MVP:
QB Philip Rivers

Prediction:
(8-8) The Jaguars, when on can hang with any team in the league. I just donít think they are as deep as the Texans and Titans. If they can manage to go 6-0 in the division, I can see them making the playoffs. I just donít think itís possible to sweep the top 2 teams. I can see them going 4-2 though.



Indianapolis Colts

Key Additions:
WR Steve Breaston (Trade)
OT Leonard Davis (FA)
CB Domonique Foxworth (Trade)
CB Desmond Trufant (Draft)

Key Losses:
HB Reggie Bush (Amnesty)
WR Pierre Garcon (Trade)
LE Everson Griffen (Cut)

2013 Recap:
The Colts were a disappointing 3-13. Nobody had a stand out season, which is to be expected on a 3 win team. QB Jake Locker only threw for 2,060 yards, 12 TDís and 20 INTís. HB Marshawn Lynch barely broke 1,000 yards. The teams leading WR was A.J. Jenkins and he only had 49 catches for 683 yards and 4 TDís. The offensive line was a major let down. They allowed 55 sacks. CB Darius Butler was a nice surprise on a very bad unit. He had 5 INTís and 22 deflections. LB Navorro Bowman had a team high 112 tackles and 19 of those for a loss.

2014 Outlook:
They finished with the #2 overall pick, but traded that and ended up drafting 1.20, 1.27 and 1.30. Rookies CB Desmond Trufant, SS Robert Lester and HB Montee Ball are expected to be major contributors. The Colts didnít lose any key players, but brought in several new starters or players that will get major playing time. These players are RT Leonard Davis, RG Willie Colon, WR Steve Breaston and CB Domonique Foxworth. The Colts are a team on the rise.

MVP:
HB Marshawn Lynch

Prediction:
(5-11) The Colts play in too tough of a division to get many wins. The best I can see them going in the division is 1-5. I donít see a repeat of last year and see an improving team.


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