The AFC South is the only division in the NFL where every team has at least a .500 record. Although the Indianapolis Colts lead the division at the halfway point, they have not looked as dominant as last year and any of the four teams in the division have a shot at going to the playoffs.
Indianapolis Colts Midseason Report (5-2)
One name is responsible for the Colts being in the driver’s seat in the AFC South: Peyton Manning. Manning has put up MVP-quality numbers so far in 2010, and has carried a team that might be 2-5 with a lesser quarterback at the helm.
The weakness for the Colts this season has been the ground game. Indianapolis ranks 23rd in the NFL in rushing yards per game and 28th in the league in rushing defense. In their losses to Houston and Jacksonville, the Colts were dominated on the ground, giving up over 5 yards per carry in each game. If the Colts are going to return to the Super Bowl this season, they’re going to need to improve their ground game on both sides of the ball.
Total Offense: 402.9 yards/game (2nd)
Total Defense: 336.4 yards/game allowed (17th)
Indianapolis Colts Midseason Grade: B+
Tennessee Titans Midseason Report (5-3)
The Titans have been an inconsistent team. Some days they dominate their opponents (like in their 30-3 win over Jacksonville), at other times they can’t seem to do anything right (committing seven turnovers in their 19-11 loss to Pittsburgh). One of the problems Tennessee is going to face is the health of quarterback Vince Young. Young has missed time this season with ankle injuries, and although he’s looked good overall, he hasn’t been completely consistent. Kerry Collins is a serviceable backup quarterback, but the Titans aren’t going to win the AFC South if they have to rely on Collins over Young.
Total Offense: 310.6 yards/game (24th)
Total Defense: 344.1 yards/game allowed (20th)
Tennessee Titans Midseason Grade: B-
Houston Texans Midseason Report (4-3)
Since starting the season 2-0, the Houston Texans have alternated wins and losses. The Texans are enjoying a breakout season from running back Arian Foster and good play from quarterback Matt Schaub, but their defense has let them down. Houston’s pass defense ranks dead last in the NFL, giving up almost 300 yards a game through the air. Houston has the firepower to pull out a few wins when their defense lets them down, but very few teams make it to the playoffs by getting into shootouts every week.
Total Offense: 367.0 yards/game (7th)
Total Defense: 404.1 yards/game allowed (32nd)
Houston Texans Midseason Grade: B
Jacksonville Jaguars Midseason Report (4-4)
When David Garrard plays well, the Jaguars win. When Garrard plays poorly (or doesn’t play at all), the Jaguars lose. Garrard has twelve touchdowns and one interception in four Jacksonville wins and has only one touchdown pass and six interceptions in three Jacksonville losses (Garrard didn’t play in Week 7’s loss to Kansas City). The Jaguars have to rely on good play from Garrard to win, mainly because their defense is awful. Jacksonville ranks 30th in the league in total defense and points allowed per game. The Jaguars, like the Texans, are able to sometimes win when they get into shootouts, but also like the Texans are likely to miss the playoffs if they don’t find a way to shore up their defense.
Total Offense: 311.8 yards/game (23rd)
Total Defense: 386.3 yards/game allowed (30th)
Jacksonville Jaguars Midseason Grade: C
AFC South 2010 Midseason Predictions
The Colts struggled coming out of the gates this season, but have looked pretty good since then. They currently have a half game lead in the division, but they should be able to finish around 12-4 and win the AFC South by at least two games. The Titans and Texans both have the potential to finish 9-7 or even 10-6, but might be on the outside looking in come playoff time because both the AFC East and AFC North have second place teams that could go 11-5. The Jaguars aren’t horrible, but they will finish around 7-9 or 8-8 at the bottom of the division.
All stats and standings from espn.com
All records and statistics are accurate through Week 8 of the 2010 NFL Season