Football.com's Big, Bad NFL Preview Series: AFC South
Created on Sept 01, 2013 6:00 AM EST
For most of the past decade, the AFC South has ran through Indianapolis. With Peyton Manning leading a high-powered offensive attack, the Indianapolis Colts consistently put up double digit win seasons and rarely received great competition from division rivals. The Houston Texans slowly made progress, but the team couldn't quite put eveything together and the Colts maintained a strong grip on the division. Then, Manning missed the entire 2011 season with a neck injury and the Texans took advantage, finally making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The Colts decided to move on from Manning and drafted Stanford star quarterback Andrew Luck, and both Houston and Indianapolis managed to make the postseason last year.
Entering 2013, the Texans have added veterans such as Ed Reed with hopes that the team can finally reach the Super Bowl this season, but winning the division won't be a given. The Colts have a young roster led by Luck that could be poised to jump into title contention, and the team enjoyed success against the Texans head-to-head last year. The Tennessee Titans endured a rough 2012 season, but an overhauled offensive line and improved play from Jake Locker could make the team a formidable sleeper. The Jacksonville Jaguars appear to be the only team that has no chance of contending, but first year coach Gus Bradley likes the progress he has seen from his young team and the Jags could be heading in the right direction under his leadership. Houston looks to be the favorite, but Indianapolis and even Tennessee could factor into the division title chase.