Uncertainty and expectation for the NFL’s AFC South Division

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303 

As we move towards the start of the 2020 NFL season, one thing has become crystal clear is that we are going to at least HAVE some sort of an NFL football season. We’ll even see the Vince Lombardi trophy hoisted in the air sometime around February 2021.

Many fans and season ticket holders are waiting for official word on just how the NFL is expected to handle seating amidst the COVID -19 threat, or if they’ll have seating for fans at all. Team facilities have started to slowly open back up and the coaching staff has been given permission to return to work with certain protocols set in place by the NFL.

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The Chiefs steamroll the Texans, go on to AFC Championship

Dayna O’Gorman
Senior NFL Reporter
NFC West/AFC West

By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG

It was a rocky first quarter for the Kansas City Chiefs. Down 21-0, it looked like the underdog Houston Texans were going to destroy the home team. That wasn’t to be the case as the Chiefs took the game over, beating the Texans 51-31. This loss brings up a lot of questions for the Texans coaching staff’s future.

Not many people gave the Texans a chance to win in Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs and their superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes were slated to march right through anything the Texans defense could give them. But in that first quarter, the Chiefs looked lost, confused, and like they had completely underestimated their opponents. Kansas City receivers couldn’t hold on to the ball. Their special teams were a disaster, giving up 2 touchdowns. It was ugly.

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AFC South playoff picture

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson //@LJ1303

With just two more weeks in the season, the AFC South divisional race got a little clearer Sunday. At least it did for the Houston Texans, who came into Nissan Stadium in Nashville trying to inch a little closer to their second straight division title.

The Texans were able to get the upset over the favored Tennessee Titans, 24-21.

Offensively, the Texans found great success behind running back Carlos Hyde, who rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Deshaun Watson, who has had a history of playing very well against his in divisional rival, did not disappoint going for 243 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.

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Houston Texans try to define their season

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson //@LJ1303

One of the biggest questions surrounding the Houston Texans right now is, what is the team’s identity?  We hear this statement every season regarding one team or another. What constitutes a team identity anyway?

I heard it all day following the Texans loss to the Broncos. The analyst said this team is searching for their identity. Ok, well did they have their identity when they beat the Patriots the week before?  I always found this phrase more associated with teams that are young and still working on continuity, not teams 15 weeks into the season.

Houston has far bigger problems then hoping to find an “identity”.  They are sitting at 8-5 and tied with a red hot Tennessee Titans team right now. A team who have reeled off 4 straight wins in a row behind new quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

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AFC South: Week 2 Review

Lisa Johnson
AFC South Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303 

Week 2 of the AFC South schedule saw all 4 teams battling each other for control of the South.

While the Texans and Colts have won 9 out of 10 seasons, the Jaguars and Titans are pushing to end that reign.

Both teams failed to gain any ground within the division, but it’s still early and there is a lot of football to go. This division could come down to the final games late in December.

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AFC South – it’s all about the quarterback

 

Lisa Johnson
Senior NFL Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303

NFL teams are all too familiar with quarterback issues. Whether due to injury or working to find just the right guy, many teams across the league struggle with this every season.

This year, however, it seems that especially in the AFC South, QB play is going to be the big deciding factor.

With the shocking news this week of the retirement of Colts QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis is the perfect place to start looking at this divison…

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Pro Bowl Day 2: Let the Flag Football Championships begin

Dayna O’Gorman,
Senior Sports Reporter

By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG

What started out as a rainy, windy day in Orlando, ended with perfect temperatures, hot dance moves, and a whole lot of fun.

The NFC practice had to be moved indoors due to the weather. With that change, it allowed the NFC practice and the AFC practice to be held at different times, which allowed fans to be able to watch both conferences. Today I attended the AFC practice.

Quarterbacks Andrew Luck (Indianapolis), DeShaun Watson (Houston), and Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City) took turns running plays with the team while head coach Anthony Lynn watched from a distance, letting coaches Gus Bradley and others take over.

The QBs ran a few running plays, but when they switched to passing plays, it seemed to turn into a game of keep away. The defense made their presence known by grabbing interceptions and blocking passes. Let’s just say, it was a good thing there weren’t any officials on the field. It was all in good fun and the players loved it.

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Can Trubisky Lead the Chicago Bears in Year Two?

Official Chicago Bears Reporter

By Wanda Wiedman // @WandaW63

The hype train has made its way to Chicago. A new head coach, several new weapons added from free agency and the NFL Draft and a young second-year quarterback to lead them.  

It’s a lot to put on the shoulders of a 23-year old. But when this has been your dream since childhood, you better be ready.

Having been taken number two overall in the 2017 NFL Draft after only playing one full season at North Carolina, the pressure to prove himself was an understatement. Unfortunately, quarterback Mitch Trubisky was thrown in without a chance to learn a system and make it his own.

Poor coaching and play calling overshadowed his true talent. But this year is different. This year Trubisky will play with a swagger the NFL did not get to see. His love of the game will be on display and it will show in a big way.

Can Trubisky lead the Chicago Bears to a winning season in 2018? I tend to think so for several reasons.

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Divisional Impact of Deshaun Watson’s Injury

Official Lions Reporter

 

By Sonja Greenfield // @Mom23RN

 

Less than 24 hours after the city of Houston celebrated a World Series win, the fans in Houston get dealt a devastating blow.  Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson tore his ACL at practice today and is done for the season.  He was on the way to having a very special season.  After already losing defensive end J.J. Watt and linebacker Whitney Mercilus, the last thing this team needed was an injury their quarterback.

This news caps off a rather crazy week for the Texans.   The Texans owner, Bob McNair, made some questionable comments last week, inferring that Texans players were “inmates”.   News also broke earlier today that their division rival Indiana Colts quarterback Andrew Luck would be shut down for the rest of the season as well.

This leads us to ask the very intriguing question.  Are the Jacksonville Jaguars now in a position where they could win the division?

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Browns Offensive Woes Continue

Kate Arhar
Kate Arhar Browns Reporter

By Cleveland Kate // @ClvlndK8

Browns 17 – 33 Texans

Another tough game to watch for Browns fans. While most seemed surprised at the blow-out, if you look at their schedule up until now (Jets, Colts, Bengals), it’s only going to get harder as the season progresses.  Visions of an 0-16 record loom large in the minds of even die hard fans. And the fear that getting the first pick in the draft (again) will only bring disappointment as the front office seems to struggle with player selection and analytics is very real.

Week after week fans see players the Browns released making plays, like wide recievers Willie Snead in NO or Travis Benjamin in Los Angeles for the Chargers.  They see players they passed on in the draft wining games; quarterbacks Carson Wentz PHI and Deshaun Watson HOU being the most popular benchmarks so far. And they question the ability of the front office – and analytics – to put together a football team. Rightfully so.

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