We've taken somewhat of a break with the NFL previews for a few days (it's what a lot of Madden marathons can do to you), but we're back (and we'll get every division in before the start of the season). After previewing the AFC East and the AFC North, we're going to the AFC South for this one. Now, keep in mind that between 2010 and 2011, only the Patriots repeated as division champions (the other 7 divisions had different division winners). And there's always that one sleeper team that emerges out of nowhere (last year, it was San Francisco). Will we find it in this division? Let's have a look...

1. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Head Coach: Mike Mularkey

2011 SEASON: The 2011 season was a complete disaster for the Jaguars, as they finished 5-11. In midseason, they fired head coach Jack del Rio, and ownership changed, as Shad Khan took over for Wayne Weaver as the head of the team. Blaine Gabbert's rookie season was a disaster as well, as the receivers were awful, finishing third in the division.

OFFSEASON MOVES: In the offseason, the Jaguars made a lot of moves to improve the needs of the team. First off, they signed Laurent Robinson to improve the receivers, and signed Aaron Ross to help the secondary depth-wise. In the NFL Draft, the team drafted 3 starters in the first 3 rounds, getting wide receiver Justin Blackmon in the first, defensive end Andre Branch in the second, and perhaps the most questionable pick, Bryan Anger in the third round.

The Jaguars got Aaron Ross in the offseason to
improve the secondary.
STRENGTH: The strength for Jacksonville has to be at cornerback. The team is loaded with good and great corners. Starting off, you've got the young Derek Cox who, with a great year this season, could become a top-10 cornerback in the NFL. You've also got Rasheen Mathis, and while you never know what you'll get out of him, if he fully recovers from the injury, he should be good. To back those guys up, you've got former Giants' cornerback Aaron Ross and a solid cornerback in William Middleton. Not bad.

WEAKNESS: The weakness on this team is at the offensive line, specifically, tackle. Assuming that Eben Britton becomes a guard, Eugene Monroe is the only certain thing on that offensive line. Cameron Bradfield is going to be starting at right tackle, and he's started just 2 games before. Backing the guys up isn't much better, with Daniel Baldridge, William Robinson and Guy Whimper. If someone goes down at tackle, then the Jaguars are doomed.

To improve the receivers, the Jaguars went out and
drafted Justin Blackmon in the first round.
GAME TO WATCH: The game to watch has to be the week 10 matchup on primetime television against the Colts. Not going to lie- the schedule for the Jaguars is pretty easy (in the second half, they only play 2 playoff teams). However, there is one stretch on the schedule that is tough- vs. Cincinnati, vs. Chicago, @ Oakland, @ Green Bay, vs. Detroit. This primetime game follows that stretch. Most likely, the Jaguars will be 4-4 at the time of this matchup. Lose the game to the Colts, and the season might be in jeopardy.

LOCK GAME: The Jaguars are not known to be a good team on the road. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that the lock game is the game against Green Bay at Green Bay. First off, unless the defensive line gets to the quarterback, Aaron Rodgers is going to have a field day. Secondly, the Jaguars are, like I mentioned, not a good road team. And finally, the receivers on Green Bay are amazing. Chalk this one up as a Green Bay win.

Can Blaine Gabbert erase his awful rookie campaign?
BEST CASE SCENARIO: Blaine Gabbert bounces back from that awful rookie campaign, and manages to throw for 3,500 yards. Justin Blackmon catches for over 900 yards, winning the rookie of the year fairly easily. The defense, which was sixth ranked in the NFL last season, becomes a top 3 defense. Maurice Jones-Drew returns soon, and MJD and Jennings combine to form the best 1-2 HB combo in the NFL. Combined with that and new coaching, the Jaguars win their division.

WORST CASE SCENARIO: Much like last season, where 31 guys ended up on injured reserve, the Jaguars have that same injury problem this season. Mike Mularkey proves that he is not an NFL-ready coach with this season. Blackmon and Branch become big time busts, failing to produce, and MJD holds out for the entire season. In his place, Rashad Jennings disappoints, failing to rush for over 500 yards. Finally, Blaine Gabbert fails and the team is forced to do QB shopping next offseason.

MOST IDEAL SCENARIO: Here's the reality in the NFL- there's always one team that surprises us. This very year, it could be the Jaguars. Blaine Gabbert has looked impressive in the preseason so far, the receivers have shined, the defense has played well and the pieces seem to be coming together. With a somewhat easy schedule (especially in the second half), the Jaguars post up double digit wins, stun the world and win the division. FINAL RECORD: 10-6

2. HOUSTON TEXANS
Head Coach: Gary Kubiak

2011 SEASON: In 2011, the Houston Texans won their first divisional title in franchise history, and made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Even with guys like Schaub and Johnson hurt, other guys stepped up in their place and led the Texans to a relatively easy playoff appearance. The Texans won the wild card round but lost to the Ravens in the divisional round.

OFFSEASON MOVES: In the offseason, besides losing Mario Williams in free agency and trading away DeMeco Ryans for a fourth round pick, the Texans made no acquisitions, being pretty content with their current lineup. In the NFL Draft, the Texans selected Whitney Mercilius to improve the defensive line, and DeVier Posey to have better receivers.

The Texans lost defensive end Mario Williams
in free agency.
STRENGTH: For the Texans, the major strength is at outside linebacker. Houston plays the 3-4 defense, and they have the linebacking strength to support that. Whitney Mercilius should produce in his rookie year, and then, guys like Brooks Reed and Connor Barwin can also produce well on the offensive line. Combine that with Brian Cushing on the inside, and the Texans could have a strong linebacking core this year.

WEAKNESS: The major weakness for the Texans is at wide receiver. Obviously, I'm not counting Andre Johnson in this, but who is backing him up? Who are the #2 and #3 wide receivers? Posey was drafted way too high. Holliday? Iglesias? Walter? Outside of Andre Johnson, the Texans are incredibly and unbelievably thin at wide receiver. I'm surprised they didn't go out and get someone in free agency to improve that core.

GAME TO WATCH: If there was a game to watch for Houston, it has to be the week 7 clash against Baltimore at home. The game is then followed by a bye week, and the game prior to the Ravens game is a game against the Packers. Not only is this game a chance for sweet revenge from the AFC Divisional Round last season, but it's also a possible turning point in the season. If the Texans lose this game, they could be entering the bye week on a downward spiral, which could negatively impact their season.

Arian Foster is looking to build off of his breakout
year.
LOCK GAME: The first game against Miami is a sure-fire victory for Houston. Ryan Tannehill has not looked good so far this preseason, and going up against a very good Houston defense will be a tough task. After the Dolphins traded away Vontae Davis to Indianapolis, the team has little help in the secondary, which could mean a field day for Andre Johnson. A loss here would be shocking.

BEST CASE SCENARIO: The Houston Texans play lights out for the entire season, even improving on their campaign last season. DeVier Posey emerges as the #2 receiver and looks really good, and everybody stays healthy. Schaub plays amazing, Foster and Tate are a thunder and lightning duo, and the defense is not impacted by the losses of DeMeco Ryans and Mario Williams. Combined with all of this, the Texans win the Super Bowl.

If guys like Andre Johnson can stay healthy, then the
Houston Texans can win the division.
WORST CASE SCENARIO: The lack of additions in the offseason for Houston prove to be costly, as their roster is overrated. The defense feels the losses of Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans, and combined with both of these, they fail to get to the quarterback. Because the Texans do not have a #2 receiver, Andre Johnson struggles with the attention on him, and Matt Schaub struggles because of this. Gary Kubiak gets fired at the end of the season, as the Texans finish below .500.

MOST IDEAL SCENARIO: Most likely, barring any surprises, the Texans will win the division. However, there are surprises year in and year out, so we shall see. I think that because they made little moves in the offseason, that their record will primarily stay the same. In a way, the losses of Ryans and Williams will hurt them, but Wade Phillips is a great defensive coordinator. I do think that Ben Tate will bounce back to reality and will have a sophomore slump, however, the primary 3 guys on the offense should be fine. They should make the playoffs. FINAL RECORD: 10-6

3. TENNESSEE TITANS
Head Coach: Mike Munchack

2011 SEASON: The 2011 season for Tennessee ended as they were the only team that season to miss the playoffs with a winning record, finishing at 9-7. Chris Johnson had a disappointing season, while Jake Locker rode the bench and Matt Hasselbeck led the team to some good wins. It was Munchack's debut season as head coach of the team.

OFFSEASON MOVES: Tennessee made no major news with free agency, with the exception of losing starting cornerback Cortland Finnegan to St. Louis and signing defensive tackle Legar Douzable. In the NFL Draft, the team acquired wide receiver Kendall Wright out of Baylor and linebacker Zach Brown out of North Carolina. They also named Jake Locker the starting QB of the team.

Can Chris Johnson come back from his
awful and disappointing 2011 season?
STRENGTH: The strength on Tennessee has to be at linebacker. The linebacking core on Tennessee has to be one of the better units in the league. At outside linebacker, they've got rookie Zach Brown, Akeem Ayers and Witherspoon as solid depth as well. Colin McCarthy at middle linebacker is also a very good option. These linebackers will carry the Titans' defense.

WEAKNESS: Tennessee's weakness is at safety, and it's really going to show this year. Now that Finnegan is gone, the Titans will have to attempt more zone defenses, and that will show the glaring need at safety. At free safety, you've got Griffin, who is solid. But at strong safety, you're looking at Afalava starting. And the depth at the position isn't too pretty either. If teams want to throw the ball deep down the field against Tennessee, they should have some success.

GAME TO WATCH: For Tennessee, the game to watch is that week 4 matchup against Houston at Houston. The first four games for Tennessee are as tough as any in the league, as they go up against New England and Detroit at home, and go to San Diego and Houston on the road. Not exactly how you want Jake Locker to start his NFL career. If the Titans start off badly, then this game against Houston could end their season before it begins.

Kendall Wright was drafted by Tennessee to improve
the somewhat thin WR core.
LOCK GAME: Opening day against New England should be a lock loss for the Titans. It's Locker's first game in the first string, and he hasn't looked too good this preseason. Against Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, he shouldn't look too much better. Plus, the problems with the defense will be exploited quickly in a matchup against Tom Brady, Wes Welker and that offense.

BEST CASE SCENARIO: Locker turns out to be the franchise QB of the team, and Chris Johnson regains his form from 2010. Kenny Britt and Kendall Wright form a great 1-2 punch at wide receiver, and the defense outperforms expectations. With all of this, the Titans win the division for the first time since the 2008 season.

Matt Hasselbeck will be riding the bench for Tennessee
this season.
WORST CASE SCENARIO: The decision to put the future in the hands of Jake Locker backfires, as he struggles early on. Chris Johnson plays like he did in the disappointing 2011 campaign, Kenny Britt can never recover from the injury, and with Kendall Wright struggling (most of his production came because of RGIII and not in spite of him), the Titans end up getting a top 5 draft pick.

MOST IDEAL SCENARIO: The beginning of that schedule is absolutely brutal. It does get easier in the middle half, but there's a very realistic chance (and I think it will happen) that the Titans start the season at 0-4. They made no moves in the offseason to suggest that they were a winning team, and I don't feel that they have the pieces to be a team above .500. FINAL RECORD: 6-10

4. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Head Coach: Chuck Pagano

2011 SEASON: In the eyes of Indianapolis fans, the 2011 season was one to forget. Peyton Manning was out for the year with a shoulder injury, and the rotating carousel of Orlovsky, Collins and Painter led the Colts to a record of 2-14. Head coach Jim Caldwell was fired at the end of the season, and the team entered the offseason in a major rebuilding mode.

OFFSEASON MOVES: In the offseason, the Colts lost a lot of talent. Peyton Manning, Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullett were cut, and Pierre Garcon left the team in free agency. They re-signed Reggie Wayne, but did most of their damage in the draft, getting quarterback Andrew Luck, tight end Coby Fleener and other contributors such as Dwayne Allen, T.Y. Hilton and Lavon Brazill. The team also made a trade, giving away a few picks to Miami for cornerback Vontae Davis.

Longtime Colt Peyton Manning was released,
as he is now in Denver.
STRENGTH: The strength of the Colts has to be at tight end. From what we've seen in the preseason, the 2 rookie tight ends in Fleener and Allen are going to be really good. Fleener and Luck played together at Stanford, so they already have that prior chemistry. However, Dwayne Allen has been surprisingly good, and these 2 guys can be a good 1-2 combination.

WEAKNESS: Indianapolis has many weaknesses, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, but the major weakness has to be at nose tackle. The Colts under Pagano are going to play the 3-4 defense, and they are especially thin at nose tackle. Drake Nevis might be the guy that gets the go come opening day, but still... that's really thin.

GAME TO WATCH: For the Colts, the game to watch is that week 3 showdown against the Jaguars. Most likely, the Colts will be 1-1 at the time, and this game is the last game before the bye week. If the Colts want to make the playoffs, then this game is essentially a must-win (with the Packers following this game, they have to beat Jacksonville).

Stanford QB Andrew Luck is the new man under
center in Indianapolis.
LOCK GAME: No doubt about it, the lock game for the Colts is that they will get creamed and then some by the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in week 11. The defense is awful, and Tom Brady knows how to pick apart bad defenses. You've got the best mastermind in the game in Belichick right now, and there's no way that the Colts get past his Patriots.

BEST CASE SCENARIO: Andrew Luck becomes the franchise quarterback that everybody has been hoping for. He easily fills Manning's void, behind great performances by running back Donald Brown, receivers Wayne, Hilton and Collie and tight ends Fleener and Allen. The defense finishes middle of the pack behind Pagano's defensive background, and the Colts shock us all, making the playoffs.

WORST CASE SCENARIO: Andrew Luck becomes a Ryan Leaf type player, and he is awful in his rookie campaign. The youth on the team is actually its downfall, as inexperience leads the team to collapse down the stretch in many games. Because of the transition to the 3-4 and the lack of good players on that defense, the defense is the worst in the league. The team finishes with the worst record in the NFL, yet again.

Dwight Freeney is one of the few constants on that
defense this season.
MOST IDEAL SCENARIO: With that awful defense of theirs, the Colts will not make the playoffs. Everything on that defense with the exception of the secondary is awful (and the secondary is below average). Do I think Andrew Luck will shine in his rookie year? No. Do I think he'll make some rookie mistakes? Of course. However, he should be able to guide the team to a few victories here and there. FINAL RECORD: 4-12
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