As we all prepare for the start of the 2020 NFL season, let’s take a look at the four teams of the AFC South. New quarterbacks, old quarterbacks with new teams, teams completely shaking it up, we have it all in the AFC South.
The Titans ended their 2019 campaign playing in the AFC Championship game. They came up short against the team that would turn out to be the Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. They were led by veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was picked up via trade with the Miami Dolphins, who had replaced long time QB Marcus Mariota.
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.
A huge win and a couple of lopsided losses highlight week 6 for the AFC South.
The Indianapolis Colts had a Week 6 bye, but the other three teams fought hard, with varying results.
Houston Texas Deshaun Watson certainly didn’t need to explain to reporters about coverages following Houston’s Sunday come back win against the Kanas City Chiefs. Watson threw for 280 yards with one touchdown pass and scrambled for two more.
Running back Carlos Hyde padded his stats as well. Running for 116 yards with a touchdown of his own. Hyde was traded by the Chiefs to the Texans before the start of the regular season and you could tell this was a bit of a revenge game for him.
This week I’ll be looking at the AFC and NFC South and how they did with their drafts. I’ll ask 3 questions about each team. Did they address their biggest need? Who will have the biggest impact? What could 2019 look like?
Let’s start with the Indianapolis Colts. After having a pretty strong offensive line, quarterback Andrew Luck, and Pro Bowl tight end Eric Ebron, the Colts focused on defense. 7 of their 10 picks were defensive.
Who could have the biggest impact? Former Michigan State safety Khari Willis. He worked hard and was an impact player. I think he’ll fit in nicely. 2019 for the Colts? If their defense lives up to its potential, it could be tough sledding for the rest of the AFC South.
Even after being named MVP of a Super Bowl LII, even after saving the Eagles 2018 season and taking them to the playoffs, Philadelphia continued to tell quarterback Nick Foles he just wasn’t good enough. QB Carson Wentz, who has been injured the last two seasons, will be their starter. Foles decided that it was time to move on, and he paid $2 million to do it.
The Eagles had picked up Foles $20 million option, but that would mean he would continue to carry a clipboard for Wentz. Foles paid the fee to be released from that option, but Philadelphia still has the ability to franchise tag him. This would give the team the ability to trade him. It has been reported that multiple teams are interested in bringing Foles on board. This isn’t surprising considering the state of the quarterback situation in the NFL.
After Sunday’s AFC South Divisional loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the jury is out on if the Indianapolis Colts can actually make a wild card playoff appearance. Although there are still 4 games left in the regular season, chances now appear to be diminishing.
On Sunday’s matchup, it appeared to be the Battle the Defenses as the Colts only allowed the Jaguars 211 total yards. (132 passing and 79 rushing).
Defensive end Denico Autry led with seven solo tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, and four quarterback hits. Autry has become one of the first Colts’ to pick up three sacks since defensive end Robert Mathis in 2013. Although Indianapolis did not get their needed divisional victory, the defensive line kept Jaguars backup quarterback Cody Kessler and company from the end zone and forcing two field goals.
About this time last year, Indianapolis had a problem when playing Jacksonville. In fact, Jacksonville earned the name “Sacksonville” while recording 10 sacks on second stringer QB Jacoby Brissett.
Brissett was filling in for a very injured QB Andrew Luck of the Colts and not allowing one win. And with that, the Jaguars proceeded to win the AFC South and started off this season as a favorite to take over and potentially become a contender. But the AFC South has been very unpredictable this season.
This past Sunday in Indianapolis, the Colts matched up with the Jaguars in a must-win divisional game. The Colts pulled off a victory over the Jaguars 29-26 and extended their win streak to three. Jacksonville, on the other hand, has a six-game losing streak going.
After seeing the Jacksonville Jaguars during practices, a scrimmage, and a pre-season game, there are a few observations that can be made.
I have no idea how they’ll do, but they won’t be beaten due to being out of shape. Head coach Doug Marrone is a taskmaster and until you’ve been under a Jacksonville sun at noon, you can’t imagine the heat these guys practice in. To his credit, Marrone and all the coaches wear black shirts.
Blake Bortles is, and most likely, will always be an inconsistent quarterback. Andy Dalton comes to mind. However, his lows were better than Dalton’s and he’s had more highs. It’s clear that he feels relaxed and loose. When he makes mistakes they appear more testing boundaries over making dumb mistakes. FYI, the guy is an athlete. After going two and half hours in the heat of the day, the team does wind sprints and he’s the first one every time. This guy will be a threat with RPO’s.