Thank God for the AFC South. It’s going to be an exciting division. What with Drew Brees and Matt Ryan squaring off and a solid Carolina Panthers defense. Wait, that’s the NFC South. The AFC South has Andrew Luck and … well, it has Andrew Luck!
Coach: Chuck Pagano
The Colts are poised for a really big year. They proved so with their comeback against the Chiefs in last year’s first-round playoff game. It’s Andrew Luck’s third season, and it looks like there is no stopping the young guy.
The only problem is, outside of the 35-year-old Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton, Luck is surrounded by less-than-stellar talent. Dwayne Allen is back after a season filled with injury, and Luck’s former Stanford teammate Coby Fleener will produce as well. Hakeem Nicks might help, but he just adds another question mark. That offensive line? Yeesh. The jury is still out on Trent Richardson, but if he plays anything like last year the team is in trouble. Luckily (pun intended) as uninspiring as the supporting cast is, the rest of the AFC South is garbage, so the Colts just need to be average to be great.
The defense is another story altogether. Outside of Vontae Davis and Robert Mathis, who will serve a four-game suspension, the team lacks any star power. Signing D’Qwell Jackson and Arthur Jones might help, but the secondary is in shambles. Again, see note about the rest of this division being garbage for how this will play out.
Notable Losses: S Antoine Bethea, RB Donald Brown, C Samson Satele
Notable Additions: WR Hakeem Nicks, DE Arthur Jones, S Mike Adams
Notable Draft Picks: G Jack Meowhart, WR Donte Moncrief, LB Andrew Jackson
2013 Record: 11-5, AFC North Champion
AFC North Record: 6-0
Best Case Scenario: 13-3, AFC Champion
Like Dr. Ian Malcolm said, sometimes life finds a way. That way is Andrew Luck. This team could really be special and go all the way to the Super Bowl if the young quarterback keeps developing.
Worst Case Scenario: 9-7, AFC North Champion
There’s no way this team doesn’t make the playoffs in what might be the worst division in football. They went 6-0 in division play last year, and there’s a very strong chance they repeat. Add in very winnable games against the Redskins, Browns, Giants and Cowboys and there’s just no way this team doesn’t repeat as division champs.