Indianapolis Colts: Expect the Colts to return to the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season with Peyton Manning at the helm. The emergence of wideouts Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie, combined with Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, and a now-healthy Anthony Gonzalez rounds out the most dangerous passing attack in the league. The Colts will need to be on their game in one of the NFL’s toughest divisions to avoid a post-Super Bowl hangover.
Houston Texans: The Houston Texans have assembled enough talent to get over the hump and reach the playoffs for the first time in team history. A punishing defence led by linebacker DeMeco Ryans, defensive end Mario Williams, and reigning NFL Defensive Rookie-of-the-Year Brian Cushing will cause headaches for opposing teams all season long. On offence, the Texans have implemented a successful pass-first system with the dynamic tandem of quarterback Matt Schaub and wide receiver Andre Johnson. Houston should make some noise in the post-season and will pounce on any team that takes them lightly.
Tennessee Titans: The Titans have arguably the most potent rushing attack in the league with the likes of workhorse Chris Johnson in the backfield. With opposing teams focusing on stopping the run, Vince Young will need to step up a so-so passing game in order for the Titans to have any success this year. Tennessee, which has one of the toughest schedules in the NFL, could still sneak into the playoffs if Johnson has another career year.
Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars feature a middle-of-the-road offence and a sub-par defence that will not be enough to get them out of the AFC South cellar. Maurice Jones-Drew has evolved into one of the premier running backs in the game while Mike Sims-Walker has shown promise in the flanks. On the defensive side of the ball, the Jaguars sport a weak secondary and no real firepower up front to stop the run. Expect Jacksonville to finish at the bottom of the division for the third consecutive year.