2013 NFL Preseason Predictions: AFC South (Beazley)
I think the AFC South is going to be wide open this season. My pick for division winner might be called a homer pick [Editor's note: "might?"], but I honestly think they have a very good shot at winning the division.
1. Tennessee Titans: 10-6
The Titans will be one of the NFL's biggest surprises this year. They addressed their biggest need on offense by fixing their interior line by signing Andy Levitre from Buffalo, and drafting Alabama's Chance Warmack. The Titans take a weakness, and turn it into a strength in one offseason.
This not only creates more holes for Chris Johnson to run wild, but it also gives QB Jake Locker a better chance in completing throws down field. Kenny Britt is in a contract year, so if he wants to even sniff a decent contract given his off-the-field trouble, he will need to have a big season. The Titans traded up in the second round to draft Tennessee's Justin Hunter. Hunter might be the best WR on the team by the end of the year. Locker has the weapons, and now no excuses to get it done. It is a make-or-break year for him.
The biggest move, however, was on the defensive side of the ball. Tennessee re-hired the infamous Gregg Williams to become a senior defensive assistant. Under Williams, the Titans had some of their best defenses in franchise history. Known mostly from "Bountygate," Williams will bring a toughness to this Titans defense, which was in the bottom third of the NFL last year. If Williams wasn't enough, the Titans also bring in one of the dirtiest players in the NFL, Bernard Pollard, to light people up. I expect to see some penalties, and fines from this unit for sure this season.
2. Houston Texans: 10-6
The Titans win the division based on tie-breaker. I think the difference is that one game vs. the AFC East where the Titans get the Jets, and the Texans get the Patriots. Scheduling plays a big part when it comes to parity in the NFL.
I love the fact that they added a true second receiver in DeAndre Hopkins to finally play opposite Andre Johnson. You have to question though, if Andre Johnson can stay healthy for a second straight season giving his injury history. Also, star running back Arian Foster is already battling injuries in camp. I think their defense is the strength of this team, and is the reason why they will make the playoffs in 2013.
3. Indianapolis Colts: 7-9
The Colts found their future franchise QB Andrew Luck last year. However, I think the Colts as a whole are not as good as the Titans or Texans. They have major concerns on both sides of the ball.
Unlike the Titans, the Colts didn't address their biggest weakness, which was their interior line. Holes in the running game will not be there and Andrew Luck will have to deal with pressure from up the middle, which will definitely force Luck into some turnovers. The Colts did sign Ahmad Bradshaw to compete with Vick Ballard and Donald Brown, but I think they missed a huge opportunity to get a RB in the draft to play along side of Luck. Think Edgerrin James/Peyton Manning combo.
On defense, this unit will struggle getting to the QB, and they lack that one player where teams have to double/chip. Their defensive line might be one of the worst in the NFL this year.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-12
The return of MJD should help this year, but lackluster QB play will hold this team back again. The Jaguars should be in line to be picking in the top five next year, and let's hope for them they find a real answer at QB.
All of our contributors will make their division and Super Bowl picks and we will track those on this centralized predictions page.