September 2, 2013 in Sports

2013 NFL Preview: AFC South

 

Houston Texans

NEW FACES

S Ed Reed, WR DeAndre Hopkins, LB Joe Mays, S D.J. Swearinger.

KEY LOSSES

OLB Connor Barwin, SS Glover Quin, WR Kevin Walter.

STRENGTHS

DE, WR, S.

WEAKNESSES

LB, CB, OL.

EXPECTATIONS

Texans made playoffs for second straight season, but again failed to advance past divisional round. Expectations higher this season and sentiment is Super Bowl or bust. Defense should be improved from late last year with linebacker Brian Cushing returning from knee injury and addition of Ed Reed, along with defensive player of year J.J. Watt. Quarterback Matt Schaub needs to prove he can win a big game, and he’ll have more weapons after Texans drafted receiver DeAndre Hopkins to play opposite Andre Johnson.

NEW FACES

RB Ahmad Bradshaw, RT Gosder Cherilus, DL Aubrayo Franklin, QB Matt Hasselbeck, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, DL Ricky Jean Francois, S LaRon Landry, LG Donald Thomas, CB Greg Toler, LB Erik Walden, LB Bjoern Werner.

KEY LOSSES

WR Austin Collie, DE/LB Dwight Freeney.

STRENGTHS

QB, TE.

WEAKNESSES

OL, RB, CB.

EXPECTATIONS

Colts ignored projections last year with historic turnaround and return to playoffs. This year, with some predicting crash, Indy plans to prove naysayers wrong again. Yes, tougher schedule may result in fewer wins, but improved offensive line, more players who fit coach Chuck Pagano’s defense and better depth should not make a fall – if there is one – too great. Indy planning for 13th playoff appearance in 15 years.

Tennessee Titans

NEW FACES

SS Bernard Pollard, LG Andy Levitre, S George Wilson, LB Moise Fokou, C Rob Turner, TE Delanie Walker, DT Sammie Hill, DE Ropati Pitoitua, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, RG Chance Warmack, assistant coach Gregg Williams.

KEY LOSSES

TE Jared Cook, QB Matt Hasselbeck, DT Sen’Derrick Marks, LB Will Witherspoon.

STRENGTHS

RB, OL, WR.

WEAKNESSES

DL, CB.

EXPECTATIONS

Injuries, especially on offensive line, decimated Tennessee last year. Titans brought in 17 free agents this offseason along with eight draft picks. Owner Bud Adams of not reaching playoffs. Coach Mike Munchak has made many moves, putting his stamp on Titans to be man to take team to first playoff berth since 2008. Titans will have to survive tough start with two road games and road games in Seattle and Denver.

Jacksonville Jaguars

NEW FACES

RB Justin Forsett, LB Geno Hayes, DT Roy Miller, CB Alan Ball, DT Sen’Derrick Marks, RT Luke Joeckel, S Johnathan Cyprien, CB Dwayne Gratz, WR Ace Sanders, OW Denard Robinson.

KEY LOSSES

FB Greg Jones, LB Daryl Smith, CB Rashean Mathis, CB Aaron Ross, CB Derek Cox, DT Terrance Knighton, DT C.J. Mosley, S Dawan Landry.

STRENGTHS

RB, OL, TE.

WEAKNESSES

QB, DL.

EXPECTATIONS

Under second-year owner Shad Khan, new general manager Dave Caldwell and new coach Gus Bradley, small-market franchise in midst of third rebuilding project in last five years. Jaguars have missed playoffs 11 of last 13 years, including five straight, and postseason drought likely will continue for team lacking depth. Robinson, listed as “offensive weapon,” brings some excitement.

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