2016 AFC South Outlook

Posted: September 3, 2016 in NFL

Houston Texans

The Houston Texans finished last season 9-7 and won the AFC South before getting sent packing by Kansas City in the Wild Card Round. Bill O’Brien will enter his third straight season as head coach for Houston. The Texans have gone 9-7 both years with O’Brien as head coach but missed the playoffs in his first season. George Godsey will enter his second season as offensive coordinator. Last season, Houston had the 24th ranked overall offense and struggled at the quarterback position all season long. Romeo Crennel will begin his third season as defensive coordinator for the Texans. Houston has had a top-10 defense each of the last two seasons under Crennel, ranking 8th overall last season.

Offseason Summary

Departures: QB Brian Hoyer, RB Arian Foster, WR Nate Washington, DE/DT Jared Crick, TE Garrett Graham, S Rahim Moore

Arrivals: QB Brock Osweiler, RB Lamar Miller, G Jeff Allen, C Tony Bergstrom

Top Draft Picks: WR Will Fuller (Notre Dame, #21 overall), C Nick Martin (Notre Dame, #50), WR Braxton Miller (Ohio State, #85)

Preseason Awards

MVP: J.J. Watt

Offensive Player of the Year: DeAndre Hopkins

Defensive Player of the Year: Whitney Mercilus

Other Notable players: Lamar Miller, Duane Brown, Jeff Allen, Johnathan Joseph, Jadeveon Clowney

Strongest position group: Front seven

Weakest position group: Secondary

Preseason Projection

The Texans are projected for 8.4 wins with a 90% confidence interval of 4.6 to 12.3 wins. They begin the season with an approximate 39.0% chance of making the playoffs and a 1.2% chance of winning the Super Bowl. The graph below shows the Texans probability of winning X number of games.

Texans

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts finished last season at 8-8 and missed the playoffs for only the second time in the last fifteen seasons. Chuck Pagano will begin his fifth season as head coach and has a 41-23 regular season record over his first four seasons. Pagano also owns a 3-3 postseason record. Rob Chudzinski took over as offensive coordinator midway through the season last year and signed on to continue as offensive coordinator in January. The Colts offense struggled last season, ranking 30th in the NFL, with the worst passing offense in the NFL. Luck was battling injuries for most of the season which surely had a negative impact on the team, but that does not explain the entire situation for why the offense played so poorly. Ted Monachino will take over as defensive coordinator and this will be Monachino’s first season ever as a defensive coordinator. He has plenty of experience; He spent 6 seasons with the Ravens working under John Harbaugh and 4 seasons with the Jaguars under Jack Del Rio. The Colts finished last season with the 13th overall defense and finished near middle of the back at stopping the run and pass.

Offseason Summary

Departures: TE Coby Fleener, ILB Jerrell Freeman, FS Dwight Lowery, WR Andre Johnson

Arrivals: CB Patrick Robinson, CB Antonio Cromartie

Top Draft Picks: C Ryan Kelly (Alabama, #18 overall), S T.J. Green (Clemson, #57), OT Le’Raven Clark (Texas Tech, #82)

Preseason Awards

MVP: Andrew Luck

Non-QB MVP: Henry Anderson

Offensive Player of the Year: T.Y. Hilton

Defensive Player of the Year: Kendall Langford

Other Notable players: Anthony Castonzo, Jack Mewhort, Vontae Davis, Patrick Robinson

Strongest position group: Quarterback

Weakest position group: Front seven

Preseason Projection

The Colts are projected for 7.8 wins with a 90% confidence interval of 4.0 to 11.6 wins. They begin the season with an approximate 28.0% chance of making the playoffs and a less than 1% chance of winning the Super Bowl. The graph below shows the Colts probability of winning X number of games.

Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars finished last season 5-11 and missed the playoffs for an eighth straight season. Gus Bradley will be entering his fourth season with the Jaguars despite a 12-36 overall record. Bradley will look to build on the promise that some of the younger Jaguars players displayed last season. Greg Olson (not the tight end) will enter his second season as offensive coordinator for Jacksonville. In his first season the Jaguars had the 21st ranked offense in the NFL, which was a much better finish than their second-to-last place finish in 2014. On the defensive side of the ball, the Jaguars will be led by recently promoted Todd Wash. Todd Wash does not have any coordinating experience but has worked as a defensive line coach under Pete Carroll and Jon Gruden. The Jaguars had the 26th ranked defense last season with one of the worst passing defenses in the NFL.

Offseason Summary

Departures: G Zane Beadles, TE Clay Harbor, DE Andre Branch, C Stephen Wisniewski, DE Chris Clemons, P Bryan Anger

Arrivals: DE Malik Jackson, OT Kelvin Beachum, S Tashaun Gipson, RB Chris Ivory, P Brad Nortman, C Mackenzy Bernadeau

Top Draft Picks: S Jalen Ramsey (Florida State, #5 overall), LB Myles Jack (UCLA, #36), DE Yannick Ngakoue (Maryland, #69)

Preseason Awards

MVP: Blake Bortles

Non-QB MVP: Allen Robinson

Offensive Player of the Year:  Allen Hurns

Defensive Player of the Year: Malik Jackson

Other Notable players: Julius Thomas, Jalen Ramsey, Paul Posluszny, Prince Amukamara

Strongest position group: Offensive skill players

Weakest position group: Front seven

Preseason Projection

The Jaguars are projected for 5.8 wins with a 90% confidence interval of 2.2 to 9.6 wins. They begin the season with an approximate 6.6% chance of making the playoffs and a less than 1% chance of winning the Super Bowl. The graph below shows the Jaguars probability of winning X number of games.

Jaguars

Tennessee Titans

The Titans finished last season at 3-13 and missed the playoffs for a seventh straight season. The Titans parted ways with Ken Whisenhunt after a 1-6 start and Mike Mularkey took over as interim head coach before he the Titans hired him as head coach in the offseason. Mularkey is a long time NFL coach with previous coaching experience in Buffalo and Jacksonville. Mularkey has a career regular season record of 18-39. Tennessee hired Terry Robiskie as offensive coordinator for the upcoming season. Robiskie brings 34 years of NFL coaching experience to the Titans. Robiskie spent the last eight seasons with the Falcons, mainly as a receiver’s coach. The Titans had the worst offense in the NFL last season. Dick LeBeau will enter his second season as assistant head coach/defensive coordinator. LeBeau is an all-time great NFL person as he is a Hall of Fame player and a coaching great. The Titans saw a slight improvement in LeBeau’s first season as defensive coordinator, ranking 23rd overall compared to 29th in 2014.

Offseason Summary

Departures: CB Cody Sensabaugh, S Michael Griffin, LB Zach Brown

Arrivals: C Ben Jones, WR Rishard Matthews, DT Al Woods, LB Sean Spence, OT Byron Bell, S Rashad Johnson, CB Antwon Blake, WR Andre Johnson

Top Draft Picks: OT Jack Conklin (Michigan State, #8 overall), LB Kevin Dodd (Clemson, #33), DT Austin Johnson (Penn State, #43), RB Derrick Henry (Alabama, #45)

Preseason Awards

MVP: Jurrell Casey

Offensive Player of the Year: Marcus Mariota

Defensive Player of the Year: Wesley Woodyard

Other Notable players: DeMarco Murray, Marcus Mariota, Rishard Matthews, Da’norris Searcy, Brian Orakpo

Strongest position group: Front seven

Weakest position group: Quarterback

Preseason Projection

The Titans are projected for 5.4 wins with a 90% confidence interval of 1.9 to 9.2 wins. They begin the season with an approximate 4.5% chance of making the playoffs and a less than 1% chance of winning the Super Bowl. The graph below shows the Titans probability of winning X number of games.

Titans

Projected AFC South Standings

  • Houston Texans (8-8)
  • Indianapolis Colts (8-8)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10)
  • Tennessee Titans (5-11)
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