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Houston, You Are a Problem for Your Rivals (AFC South Preview)

Previewing the AFC South entering the 2024 season

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 3 days ago 5 min read

The AFC South, in recent years, has been quite...well...interesting. The last two seasons have ended with the division's games being quite vital, and both times, it was Houston vs Indy in one game, while Jacksonville faced Tennessee in another. In 2022, it was only Jacksonville and Tennessee that was the important game, as that game decided the AFC South. In 2023, both games were very vital, as three of the teams were looking to get into the playoffs.

I know this much: each of the four teams in the AFC South have their own intriguing storyline entering the 2024 season, and the storylines are as follows:

Tennessee Titans (6-11)

Tyjae Spears, the most likely new RB1 for the Titans

The last three seasons have not treated the Tennessee Titans very well. 2021 saw them finish as the #1 team in the AFC, but they ended up being the early victims of the Cincinnati Bengals' wild run to the Super Bowl. 2022 saw them start at 7-3 and with a high chance of winning the division, only to lose seven straight games; the last one being a winner take all division championship contest in Jacksonville. 2023 was a disaster all around. A terrible campaign that resulted in a 6-11 record in a season where the team and the fans knew that Derrick Henry would be out of Nashville after that year. However, there was one consolation for the Titans: they did get their payback on the Jags on the final week, and hurt them at the right time.

The Titans said goodbye to not only Derrick Henry, but to Mike Vrabel as well. Vrabel was fired as the team's head coach after six seasons, and during his tenure, Vrabel went 54-45 and reached the playoffs three times, with the most successful campaign being the run to the AFC Championship in 2019. Brian Callahan, the son of former NFL head coach Bill Callahan, will now serve as the Titans head coach; Callahan previously spent five years as the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals, which included the Bengals' run to Super Bowl LVI. In addition, it looks like Tyjae Spears will serve as the team's new RB1, and he'll be part of a tandem with Tony Pollard. That is a hell of a duo right there. I can't really see playoffs for the Titans, though crazier things have happened in the AFC South, so who knows?

Indianapolis Colts (9-8)

The Colts were one hell of a story in the 2023 season. For one, it seemed like they had the true star rookie quarterback in the form of Anthony Richardson. And then...out for the season. An absolute heartbreaker. Despite this, the Colts still managed to persevere with Gardner Minshew at the helm, and they actually stayed above ground for the whole season. The Colts actually made it to a winner take all defacto playoff game in Week 18, but they fell just short--literally one play away from the dance.

The loss was a tough one, but the Colts have a lot to be proud of. Even with the backs to the wall, they were in it until the very end. With Richardson returning to the QB1 helm, we should see the Colts stay in it again, if not make it this time. They definitely have the talent and the abilities to snag a playoff spot in 2024. We'll just have to see if they can make it happen.

Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8)

The 2022 season ended with the Jacksonville Jaguars on the highest of highs. They won the division on the final week. A year after winning only three games all season, the Jags tripled their win total from 2021 and finished on top of the AFC South. From that point on, this was the Jags' division to lose. They were the favorites. They were 8-3 entering the home stretch in 2023. What happened? A 1-5 stretch to end the season. Their only win was against the very lowly Carolina Panthers. They had a shot at the division in the final week. All they had to do was win. Unfortunately for them, the Titans remembered how the Jags ended their season in 2022, and it resulted in the Jags being on the receiving end of that old saying, "An eye for an eye."

The Jags have had a...fruitful offseason to say the least. They got rid of kicker Brandon McManus because he couldn't keep his hands to himself (seriously, what is it with these kickers during this offseason?). I think they lost a draft pick or two from this year, and they lost Calvin Ridley...to the Titans. At least they still have the main man at the helm: Trevor Lawrence. T-Law, as he's called, has been the saving grace for the Jags so far, and this year will be his fifth with the Jags. They also still have Doug Pederson as the head coach, which may or may not be a bad thing to Jags fans. What's definitely a big negative: Trent Baalke is still their general manager. One has to think that Baalke will be on a very, very short leash this year, especially since Jags fans are sick of his nonsense.

Houston Texans (10-7)

What a difference a year makes! In 2022, the Houston Texans had another disastrous season, but it looked like it would result in the team snagging the #1 pick...but they would win their season finale. As result, Houston ended up with the #2 pick, missing out on the perceived top prize in the form of Bryce Young. The Texans had to settle for CJ Stroud, and all that happened was that the Texans...won ten games and won the division?! Sounds like something out of a movie, but yeah, that's exactly what happened.

The Texans went from winning 3.5 games in 2022 and getting the #2 pick, to winning 10 games, clinching a playoff spot after their win, and getting the division crown on the next day after the Jaguars lost. Amazing! This was all done with CJ Stroud at QB, and he ended up winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year of the Award. This was also done with their first year coach, Demeco Ryans, and I was really pulling for him to win Coach of the Year, but let's face it, he had no chance after the Lions did what they did. And they managed to get Stefon Diggs during this offseason. Yeah, Houston's winning the division again. They may win the division for the next three years.

* * *

Here's the thing about that last statement. I am saying that even though the AFC South is actually a bit on the wide open side for the first time in a while. We all thought the Jags would repeat as division champions, until they didn't. Now, it's pretty much open season. The AFC South has become very interesting and intriguing, and I honestly wouldn't be shocked if that division comes down to the final week yet again.

football

About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also into film and TV, especially Simpsons and Family Guy.

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Comments (1)

  • Philip Gipson3 days ago

    I enjoyed like always, Clyde.

Clyde E. DawkinsWritten by Clyde E. Dawkins

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