As the fourth edition of “Bold Predictions” rolls out, it is time to move to the NFC South counterpart, the AFC South. Last year was interesting in the AFC South, as Andrew Luck missed most of the year and there were some receiving juggernauts that came out to play from the Jaguars and Texans. This is going to be another year of battling for the No. 1 seed, but there is a chance that two teams come out of the AFC South this year for a playoff spot. Let’s get on with the predictions!
Houston Texans- Now that Lamar Miller is out of Miami he can finally be utilized to his potential. My only concern now is his ability to stay healthy with a large workload. Not only will his carries increase, but he should figure into the passing game a lot. Miller has only had over 200 carries once in his career, but he has a lot of tread on the tires and Houston will thank Miami for that. Barring an injury, I expect Miller to have over 1,300 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. Package that with another 400+ receiving yards and four touchdowns through the air, and you have yourself a great grab at the running back position. I don’t expect Brock Osweiler to be the quarterback he was paid to be, but more of a game manager. I’m thinking he finishes in the bottom half of the league for QB position, but he does have DeAndre Hopkins to throw to. One last thought, should Jadeveon Clowney stay healthy this year, he will reach 12 sacks and look like the player he was drafted to be as the No. 1 overall pick.
Indianapolis Colts- This year I expect Donte Moncrief to outplay T.Y. Hilton after Hilton got paid. Moncrief is only 22 years-old, but is a big wide receiver that can play. I think he establishes himself as Andrew Luck’s favorite target and Hilton finds himself to be a DeSean Jackson. You should expect him to catch around 80 passes and go over 1,100 yards in 2016. Once he adds 9-11 touchdowns to his receiving total, you can be happy with your return on investment, which will probably be cheap. I fully expect Gore to be the man in Indy, but Josh Ferguson will carve out a larger than expected role for the Colts and gain over 500 all-purpose yards on the year.
Jacksonville Jaguars- My prediction will come in the form of the whole team. I am expecting the Jaguars to double their win total from last season and go 10-6 this season. Their offense showed what it could do last year and I really like what they did on defense in the offseason. We can’t forget that they get back their No. 3 overall pick from 2015 after missing his whole rookie season after tearing his ACL. The offensive line will be the key to the Jaguars’ success this season, as they will control keeping Blake Bortles upright and healthy, as well as getting that run game going to balance the offense out. The Jaguars start things off right in week one with a surprise victory over the Green Bay Packers. They end the season making the playoffs for the first time since 1998.
Tennessee Titans- It’s been said that the Titans have a thunder and thunder combo in running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. Well, come next season, they won’t have one half of that thunder combo. That’s right, Murray will not be back with the Titans next season after he power-houses 10 touchdowns this season and runs through people like kids. I expect Murray to lead the team in rushing yards if healthy, but that isn’t a guarantee and I would see it more likely that the yards are within 200 of one another. Look for Dorial Green-Beckham to also have himself 10 touchdowns, but I don’t see him being there quite yet in terms of 1,000 yards. He will get there and he is growing with a young Marcus Mariota, so he is a dynasty asset.
The only thing I see as easy for me to predict with the AFC south this season is that the Titans will finish last in the division. I feel it is going to be a battle for spots 1-3 and it’s hard to go against a healthy Andrew Luck and company, but that defense is still a work in progress. The Texans defense should be pretty good this season, but their quarterback play will be the X-factor in their season. Should the Jaguars get their run game going and secondary play where it needs to be, they will take this division, but I have a hard time going against the Colts with Luck. I take the Colts to win the AFC South and back-up my prediction saying that the Jaguars grab a wild card spot this year.
As always, whether it’s good or bad, feel free to reach out and tell me how I’m doing. You can email me at email@example.com or on Twitter @FantasyBold.