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Who wins the AFC South?

Who wins?  

49 members have voted

  1. 1. 2020 AFC South Champ?

    • The Incumbent - Houston
    • The Overachiever - Tennessee
    • The Old Guard - Indianapolis
    • The Bad Boy - Jacksonville

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In reality, though, the Colts have the best roster top-to-bottom. They've had one of the most complete rosters in football for a few years, and it hasn't really regressed much. Pierre Desir left, and they gained Xavier Rhodes in exchange. Jabaal Sheard is gone, but he was meh as a pass rusher.

Look, great rosters aren't USUALLY built with only high-priced players. It's about having a complete group, players who aren't liabilities, top-to-bottom, so that teams don't have a trump card. Then you add game-changers to that great level of depth. This is how New England has done it, this is how the Cardinals did in in 14-16, this is how the Eagles did it in 15-18, this is even how the Rams did it in 17-18. Yes, the Rams had their Todd Gurleys, Aaron Donalds, and Brandin Cooks making very high amounts of money. They also had Jamon Brown, Austin Blythe, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Michael Brockers, Samson Ebukam, Troy Hill, Nickell Robey-Coleman, and John Franklin-Meyers playing major roles. Corey Littleton wasn't known to be anything special. Mark Barron was a cast-off. Ndamukong Suh was in virtually the same boat that Xavier Rhodes is in now as an overpriced vet that wasn't brought back from their old team and had suffered some declines in play. 

Here's the thing - the Colts have a Super Bowl-type roster.

Their team is returning the same five starters for the third year in a row on what is quite possibly the best offensive line in the NFL. Quentin Nelson is arguably the best player in the NFL, regardless of position. They even have a good swing back-up in Le'Raven Clark who could probably start without them missing a beat in the case of an injury. 

On the defensive line, Kemoko Turay and Denico Autry were key in their surge under Matt Eberflus. Who do they have playing with them? Hall of Very Good ED Justin Houston, all-pro talent DeForest Buckner, and some young promising talents in Ben Banogu and Tyquan Lewis. 

The LB corps is really nice, with arguably the league's best off-ball linebacker in Darius Leonard, second-year LB sideline-to-sideline missile Bobby Okereke, and trusty vet Anthony Walker. 

In the secondary, you have FOUR viable options to play at corner. Xavier Rhodes is a known commodity as a former elite corner that's lost a step. He should be very good in Eberflus' Cover 2 Zone-heavy scheme as a sure tackler with great experience and instincts. TJ Carrie used to be a very good corner, and he's - at the very least - serviceable as an average starter who's best-suited to play inside. Kenny Moore II is arguably the best nickel corner in the league. Rock Ya-Sin is a young talent with a studly name. He's scheme versatile, but plays his best football in zone or press, which - surprise, surprise - is a perfect fit for this D. Julian Blackmon is a fantastic developmental project as someone who can play safety or corner. Malik Hooker is one of the best free safeties in the league with his range and ball skills, and Khari Willis is a sure tackler.

The offense is really tailored to Philip Rivers' skills as a passer at this point in time.It's well-established that his arm doesn't have the endurance that it once did. His anticipation and precision on touch throws are going to allow T.Y. to wreak havoc on creative deep routes. A common misconception is that he's lost a lot of arm strength. He was never a cannon-armed gunslinger. He was ALWAYS a great anticipation passer, a la the good version of Kirk Cousins, and that allowed his receivers to beat people deep. This offense under Frank Reich is going to be very carefully measured to keep Rivers fresh while still forcing defenses to respect the deep game and vertical speed of this offense.

T.Y. is an elite deep threat in the twilight years of his prime. Parris Campbell had a reputation as a deep threat, but if you watch him in college, he was more of an after-the-catch monster who excelled on swings, slants, screens, and mesh routes. You can bet that he will be featured in that sort of a role now that his QB requires that type of receiver. Michael Pittman is a do-it-all type, very similar to JuJu. Pittman can run a variety of routes, with a mean streak through contact and the athletic profile to beat the opposition from any alignment. Nyheim Hines is a top-10 RB on third-downs, with crazy quickness and change-of-direction ability to pair with quality hands. Marlon Mack can contribute as a receiver, and is also a genuinely good starter at runningback. The third RB in the troop, Jonathan Taylor, has the highest ceiling of the bunch as someone who's style of play is reminiscent of Saquon Barkley. He's not the ELITE passing-down back that Barkley is, but Taylor boasts elite speed and vision, as well as solid receiving chops and great strength through contact. 

They have the necessary creativity on offense and the personnel to make it work. They can play with as many as 3 RBs on the field or with an empty backfield and still beat defenses. Reich employs a variety of West Coast Andy Reid and Gulf Coast Sean Payton concepts, and you can expect lots of routes out of the backfield, lots of shallow routes, and some deep bombs that will keep defenses on their heels. 

The Colts have the perfect storm of elite coaching, a Hall of Fame quarterback, a good roster top-to-bottom, and some genuine stars. 

I'm a Texans fan. I would NOT be surprised to see the Colts win the division and get the AFC Championship game.

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I could see Houston, Tennessee, and Indianapolis all with a realistic shot to win it.

Houston, just how much has Bill hurt this team? Is it enough to make them lose the division or not? At some point Bills moves are going to screw them, but who knows if that happens this year.
Tennessee, a lot of good young talent, these guys know how to draft over the last handful of seasons.
Indianapolis, All falls on whether or not Phillip Rivers can rebound or if he's over the hill. If he has a resurgence, then I'm giving the division to the Colts no doubt.

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5 hours ago, Daniel said:

Tennessee beat KC in the regular season, so...

This.  The Titans were a much better team than their record last season, especially near the end, when Simmons came off the bench and the guys replacing our major injuries were coming into their own.

I admit over the whole season that Baltimore was better.  I would dispute that they were a better team at the season's end.  I don't know how much more the Titans needed to prove after they won 7 of 10 games, including KC, then went to New England and beat the Pats before coming to Baltimore and stomping the Ravens.  They even lost to KC by less than the 49ers did IIRC.

And Baltimore beat Houston - a team the titans lost to with playoff implications at home - by 34 points. You can do that kind of stuff for every team.

The Titans were absolutely on a roll at the end of last year. And were certainly better than us in the playoff game.

Baltimore had won 12 straight going into that game. They had the largest point differential since the 2007 Patriots. I don’t think the Titans were a better team even at year’s end. I just think they were better that night - again, it happens. The 2008 Titans were a better team than the 2008 Ravens. Yet the 2008 Ravens beat the #1 seed Titans in Nashville in the playoffs. Just the way the NFL is.



Doesn’t really matter though, last year is done with. Moving forward the Titans look like the best bet to win the division but I just can’t help but think BoB continues to haunt Texans fans by winning it again somehow this year, keeping him around even longer. Colts are the wildcard here depending on Rivers - I would have to take a look at their schedule but Reich is a good coach and they have some pieces.

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these titans vs ravens arguments are kind of pointless. i wouldn't put money on us beating the ravens again in the regular season because they're a good team, but i do know we can hang with them and are capable of beating them any day. i don't think there are many teams in the league we *can't* hang with. with the titans the past few years it's always been a matter of consistently beating the teams we should beat. in retrospect, i think a lot of that was because of wildly inconsistent QB play from mariota week in and week out. if tanny can keep it rolling, we'll be a 10+ win team imo.


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