Continuing with our team previews for the upcoming Madden 18 we turn our attention to the AFC South. MaddenPFL Irish Mainstay Heli joins us to preview the AFC South. Many would agree the AFC South has to be one of the stranger divisions its really been the Texans division to lose with the lack of competition – but will it change this year? Will the Jags finally get that winning record, will the runnng game in Tennessee explode? Can the Colts be reinflated?
Heli breaks it all down.
Various commentators are calling on the Titans to make a giant leap this year. Last year they almost equalled their combined win total for the last 3 years. Titans rookies, Byard, Sharpe, Henry are all coming into their 2nd year. Mariota is back from injury and looking good in OTA’s though he is playing down in weight from where the coaches want him to be. Murray and Henry will resume their thunder and thunder roles in the backfield, however expect Henry to see a lot more snaps this year.
The Titans drafted for need this year, adding a potential #1 WR in Corey Davis and Adoree Jackson at CB paring both guys with a veteran presence in Eric Decker and Logan Ryan.
Player to watch out for: Kevin Dodd, Dodd spent most of last year injured with a stress fracture in his foot, but when he played through the pain he was immense. He’s fully healed up. Expect him to rotate in and over Morgan and Orakpo at OLB but also expect him to get his hand in the dirt at DE.
Honourable Mention: Jalston Fowler the Fullback
Overrated Player: This is a hard one for the Titans, they don’t have any overrated players, if anything their players are underrated by the media. This will be controversial, but I’ll choose Delanie Walker, he’s not getting any younger.
Weakness: Even with the draft and FA moves, the Titans are still light at cornerback. I would look to pick up a camp veteran cut, Revis is still available..
Conclusion: The Titans are a young physical team. They have 2 years of good cap space until Mariota gets paid and make no mistake he is going to be the highest paid QB in the league. Expect a shift away from Demarco Murray
Team Grade: B-
The Texans D is fearsome and it really is the strength of their team. However with Lamar Miller and DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and TE Fiedorowicz they can move the ball upfield. The big question will be, who will be throwing the pig skin, Rookie QB DeShaun Watson or Tom Savage? The Texans spread their draft picks around, but there are 2 key questions. Can their D-line starts (Watt and Clowney) stay healthy and can they have regular production from their QB whoever that is. The Texans didn’t do much of note in free agency.
Player to watch out for: He needs no introduction, but DeAndre Hopkins makes this offense tick, he can take the top off, dominate #1 CB’s and arguably he’s the top receiver in the AFC South.
Honourable Mention for JJ Watt here.
Overrated Player: Miller is a solid running back, but with only 5 rushing TD’s last year, he’s average but comes with a hefty price tag.
Weaknesses: Texans have talent, but their biggest question mark is QB, it will be the defining aspect of their season.
Conclusion: The Texans have cap room, but due to getting rid of Osweiler they have no 2nd round pick but which potentially limits what they can do in regards to a trade. Will JJ Watt be the same force post injury?
Team Grade: B+
The Colts front office is what could be descried as a mess and perhaps that is beginning to translate into on the field results. Luck is a great QB however he’s getting killed behind his o-line. The evergreen Frank Gore surely had to run out of thread at some point? The Colts have 2 very good WR’s in Moncrief and Dorsett and ex Titan TE Jack Doyle is solid if unspectacular. Luck and rookie safety Hooker are injured which isn’t a good sign. Colts defense has its moment but it hasn’t been consistent enough.
Player to watch out for: Andrew Luck, he’s a great QB but he can tuck and run with the best of him, he extends plays with his feet and has a canon arm. He can hurt you numerous ways assuming he’s healthy.
Honourable Mention: Adam Vinateiri
Overrated Player: This may be harsh as he’s just joined, but a $30 million deal for a DT with 3 sacks in the last 2 years seems like a lot of money.
Weaknesses: Picking out two, Colts o-line is going to have a direct impact of how their star QB is going to play. Vontae Davis is on a downward trajectory, but he’s still the best CB that the Colts have.
Conclusion: It will be a tough year for the Colts, but aslong as they keep Luck intact they’ll be competing. They were busy in FA but still have $20 million in cap room.
Team Grade: B-
Overview: Looking at the stats, the Jags have the talent but just haven’t been able to pull it into a run of games. Jags made significant free agency moves both in terms of player personnel and front office staff. Jags drafted Leonard Fournette, perhaps the best RB in the draft and he’ll earn his money in Jacksonville behind a scattershot Blake Bortles. Apart from the Texans, a case could be made for the Jags having the 2nd best D in the AFC South, Dante Fowler, Calais Campbell , Myles Jack all big names, if they perform they can make a big jump.
Player to watch out for: Myles Jack, he should be a wrecking ball, and all of the other AFC South teams will need to watch out for him.
Overrated Player: AJ Bouye, again this may seem harsh given he’s had a couple of good years, but it’s easy to look good when Watt, Clowney, Mercilus are chasing after the QB.
Weaknesses: BB, not Bill Belichick, but Blake Bortles. The Jags have the pieces, but they need Bortles to firstly score TDs and not turn it over and they then need the defense to prove that they are worth all of those big contracts and draft statuses.
Conclusion: BB will blow hot and cold, but I expect the Jags to win a few games based solely off their defensive ability.
Team Grade: B-
That finishes off the AFC South rankings from Heli and I’m sure after reading some of those grades your wish Heli was your teacher – he will never give you anything less than a B!.
I personally believe this is the year the AFC South changes there is just to much talent on all the teams for the division to be as dire as it was last year. The Texans come into the season as favourite you have to imagine and it will be interesting to see how Watson turns out – will he be a Vince Young? Or will he be this years Dak? The Jags with their talent this is the year they have to make the jump Ramsey & Bouye will instantly make that team better. My personal pick this year are the Titans they have added pieces and I expect Henry to at some stage this season become the workhorse back and Murray come in to provide the lightning rather than Thunder. The Colts on the other hand staying injury free and improving that defense are the must – Hooker will be a brillant player and it will be interesting to see how this team goes.
If you want to check out our previous Grades please click on the links below: