Colts Divisional Foes: AFC South Roundup With the Colts

Colts Divisional Foes: AFC South Roundup With the Colts

Postprzez panxing18 » Pią Lis 09, 2018 7:51 am

’ opening day matchup against the Bengals coming on Sunday http://www.indianapoliscoltsteamonline.com/jack-doyle-jersey , it made sense to have a look around the AFC South to get a look at what our divisional foes will be facing in the first four weeks of the season, and how they stack up. Let’s get to it.Tennessee TitansJim Brown-USA TODAY SportsI don’t know what to think about the Titans. For two seasons I’ve predicted that they would be the best team in the AFC South. They seem perched on the edge of relevance, but it took the abysmal performances of the Texans and Colts, as well as a fairly easy schedule to get them to a 9-7 record and a playoff berth. They’ll face a much tougher schedule this season and they cannot afford to falter early. After their week one road trip to Miami, they’ll come home to face Houston, before traveling to Jacksonville. They’ll end the first quarter of the season at home against the defending Super Bowl Champion Eagles. It is very conceivable that they could finish that stretch 1-3 and 2 games back in the division, which would make a tough climb for a pretty balanced, but ultimately unspectacular team.That fast start will be made even tougher by the fact that they have had several valuable contributors to the team, right tackle Jack Conklin, linebacker Brian Orakpo, and rookie first round pick Rashaan Evans, miss all or much of the preseason with injuries. They’ll need to hit the ground running, and injuries can significantly complicate that effort.Houston TexansShanna Lockwood-USA TODAY SportsThe Houston Texans are my pick to win the division. This is a team that was absolutely decimated by injuries last season, and has gotten a lot of serious players back in the offseason. J.J. Watt is back and healthy, and that counts for a lot. We are due for him to stick around for a little bit, and as much as I want to beat the Texans, watching Watt disrupt whole games on his own was really enjoyable, so I’d love to see one more season of him at his peak. Just not against the Colts. Whitney Mercilus is also back, and putting these guys up front to get after the passer means this is a scary defense.Perhaps most importantly for their team, second year passer Deshaun Watson looks to be fully back from his ACL tear. Watson is an electrifying player with game-changing ability, and although he found himself on the right side of a lot of possible turnover situations last season, and benefited from more than a little good fortune with some of his errant throws, overall he showed himself a dangerous playmaker who takes this team and offense to another level.The first quarter of the season looks like one that the Texans can be successful in. They’ll travel to Foxboro for their season opener against New England Authentic Andrew Luck Jersey , and the head to face the Titans in Nashville, before a home game against the Giants. They’ll finish off the first quarter in Indianapolis against the Colts. They will likely be favored in all these games with the exception of the game against New England. However, getting wins against the Titans and Colts would give them a two-game lift in the division. If they could get out of this stretch 3-1 they would be thrilled.Jacksonville JaguarsDouglas DeFelice-USA TODAY SportsThe Jaguars are certainly a very talented team on the defensive side of the ball. They have got the football cognoscenti firmly behind them as a team that is right in their Super Bowl window and should be equipped to beat just about anyone they face.However, there are several questions that I have about this team that lead me to believe this won’t be quite the year many are expecting for the Jaguars.First, how do they plan to score points? The problem with this team is that they don’t have any real threats in the passing game. The loss of Marquis Lee was a big blow to a thin wide receiver corps, and Blake Bortles is not going to do all that well if he is throwing to All-Pro’s, let alone just a bunch of guys. Leonard Fournette cannot be the only offensive weapon on this team, and I am not sure they have any other reliable ones.Second, this is a team that stayed relatively healthy in the 2017 season. They didn’t lose key players to injury and they didn’t get killed by mistakes from their quarterback. With Watson and Luck both healthy in their division, the chances are high that they’ll find themselves in at least a couple shootouts, which bodes ill for Blake Bortles. You can only hide your quarterback for so long, and expecting another such injury free season for the defense is naive. It is too much to ask your defense to have another performance like 2017, but that is what it will take for this team to win games.The good news for them is that the first month is relatively winnable. They have a road game against the Giants before coming home for three straight against the Patriots, Titans, and Jets. Realistically, there is no reason they can’t come away with 4 wins here and start their season undefeated, but reason tells me they’re likely to lose at least one. Still, a 3-1 start would be something they could be pretty pleased with, so long as the Titans weren’t their one loss. Andrew Luck's throwing shoulder feels great.He's thrown a touchdown pass, celebrated a couple of victories, mastered another new offense and even survived some hard hits.Yes, the Indianapolis Colts' returning and improved quarterback already seems to be rounding into his pre-injury form — good news for a team that desperately needs Luck available to turn things around after missing the playoffs each of the last three years."My arm feels awesome," he said after celebrating Indy's second preseason win. "I'm not going to lie to you guys. I actually feel very good and strong. My shoulder felt alive."Sure Womens Eric Ebron Jersey , the critics contend they heard some positive vibes last year. Of course, back then, Luck wasn't even throwing a football. And, yes, now he is dealing with a minor foot injury.But this time, he's already survived three games and looks more like the quarterback that led Indianapolis to playoff appearances in his first three seasons than the guy who missed 26 of the last 45 games with injuries.Nobody is less surprised to see Luck ready to go than first-year coach Frank Reich, who believed so strongly in the comeback he never asked general manager Chris Ballard for Luck's medical update before accepting the job in February."Physically he can take the hit, presence in the pocket, command at the line of scrimmage, accuracy," Reich said when asked what Luck had demonstrated in 11 preseason series. "I think he threw the ball really well. I just felt like he was in complete control."With Luck's preseason complete, the next big test comes Sept. 9 against Cincinnati. It will be his first regular-season game in more than 20 months, and though he's already been driven into the ground by Terrell Suggs and others, the Colts' success this season will likely depend more on how well Luck's surgically repaired throwing shoulder holds up through a 16-game season."There are still things that come up that are going to be challenges," he said. "I know I've seen improvement. I think this team has improved, so that to me is the most important thing."FOR THE RECORD: Adam Vinatieri's resume makes a solid case that he's the best kicker in league history. As the 45-year-old enters his 23rd season, Vinatieri has his eyes on bigger feats.He needs seven field goals to pass Morten Andersen (565) for the most in league history. And if Vinatieri produces at his typical pace, he could also beak Andersen's career scoring record sometime in October.Andersen, who played high school football in Indy, scored 2,544 points in a league-record 382 games. Vinatieri needs 58 points to pass Andersen, who broke the previous record in December 2006.PLUGGING HOLES: The Colts put a premium on the offensive line and seem to have solidified at least four spots, presuming longtime starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo returns from a hamstring injury for the season opener.Ryan Kelly http://www.indianapoliscoltsteamonline.com/al-woods-jersey , Indy's 2016 first-round pick, returns from injury to start at center. He'll be flanked by veteran guard Matt Slauson, added as a free agent, on the right side, and first-round pick Quenton Nelson on the left.If the early returns are any indication, it will be the best interior line Luck has played with since being drafted in 2012.That leaves one huge question at right tackle, where rookie Braden Smith, free-agent additions Austin Howard and J'Marcus Webb and veterans Denzelle Good, Le'Raven Clark and Joe Haeg continue to battle.SAFETY NET: Indy's starting safeties, Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker, are an imposing duo.At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, Geathers is a big hitter from a football family that has already produced five NFL-playing relatives. Hooker, at 6-1, 212, is a playmaker with a penchant for takeaways.But until Saturday, injuries had prevented Geathers and Hooker from lining up together in a game. If they stay healthy, they could finally give the Colts' secondary the physical presence with big-play potential they've long sought.TRENDING YOUNG: The Colts have drafted 19 players since Chris Ballard took over as general manager, and they're counting on many of those youngsters to produce this season.In addition to moving 2016 draft picks Marlon Mack and Quincy Wilson into the starting lineup, they're also expecting Nelson to help anchor the revamped offensive line. They need Smith, defensive linemen Kemoko Turay and Tyquan Lewis and linebacker Darius Leonard — Indy's four second-round picks this year — all to make key contributions.Rookie running backs Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins also could play big roles this season.
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