It is baseball season, but there are plenty of ways to get your fill of football too. Our own Hank Koebler, IV is on the beat making his way across the NFL landscape exhaustively covering team after team. These previews will get you up to snuff with everything you need to know about the transition to each 2010 team.
Each preview covers the team's outlook and projection for the 2010 season. We've got in depth coverage of each team's offense, defense and special teams. We'll cover who's in and who's out, rookies, players in their prime and savvy veterans. Finally, we'll look at strategy and style of play on both sides of the ball, as well detailed information about coaches and players.
Check back often between now and the September 9th season kick-off as new team previews are going up almost every day. Clicking on the NFL Football in the right sidebar will take you right to the latest previews each time you come back.
Today Hank is previewing the AFC South teams, the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans, and Jacksonville Jaguars.
AFC South Predicted Finish
- Indianapolis Colts
- Tennessee Titans
- Houston Texans
- Jacksonville Jaguars
Because of the Colts' offensive speed and precision, they are able to build quick leads that force their opponent to pass the ball in order to catch back up. This helps the Colts' defense, as their forte is rushing the opposing passer and disrupting their passing game with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. The Colts' defense holds onto the lead because of this, and the Colts don't have to worry about their inability to run the football. The unique way in which the Colts' offense and defense feed off of each other's strengths and mask each other's weaknesses means there is no question as to whether the Colts will make the playoffs. The real question is how far they will make it in the postseason before falling to a team with a strong run game and a solid pass rush as they have done so frequently in the past.
This team is getting better and better on offense, and their defense is slowly rebuilding. While this might not be their year to regain the division title, they will be in the playoffs without a doubt. Offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger has done an incredible job of adapting the playbook to Vince Young's unique skill set, and Young will only continue to get better under another year of Heimerdinger's tutelage. Chris Johnson's phenomenal play has made him the perfect complement to Young, and the offense will be nearly unstoppable once the receivers develop a little bit more.
The defense ought to be just good enough to allow the offense to win games, which is all the Titans need. They are perhaps one more good draft away from becoming truly scary on defense again. While they may or may not win the division, they will get into the playoffs, and should finally get their first playoff win since 2003.
The Texans had very few holes coming into the 2010 offseason, and they were able to draft players to fill most of those holes. The Texans will be good this year, but just "good" won't be enough to make the playoffs in the stacked AFC South. For the Texans to be true contenders, the burden will rest on the shoulders of four newcomers to the team. If Kareem Jackson adjusts to the NFL quickly, Earl Mitchell helps provide push up the middle, and Danny Clark fills in effectively for Brian Cushing, the Texans' defense will improve significantly this year. If rookie running back Ben Tate truly is the cornerstone running back the Texans have sought for years, then the offense should soar to previously unreached heights with the newfound threat of a running game.
All in all, the Texans are a good team with a potential to be great if the four players mentioned previously all step up big time. Very few key players are scheduled to become free agents in 2011, so this team will only get better in the next year or two.
Unfortunately for the Jaguars, they play against too many serious playoff contenders to have a shot at a winning record this season. This team is proof that talent at all the skill positions means nothing if a team doesn't have control of the line of scrimmage. The Jaguars placed a high value on upgrading the defensive line, and if they place the same focus on upgrading the offensive line next offseason, they could find themselves back in playoff contention soon. All things considered, 2010 should not be considered the Jaguars' year by any stretch. - Hank Koebler, IV
Hank is an aspiring sports journalist who will be attending the University of Missouri's school of journalism starting this fall.