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Colts facing competition to win AFC South - who'll get the title?

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Way back in the offseason, it was the consensus that the Indianapolis Colts would win the AFC South, pretty easily as well. Yet here we are, with the second half of the NFL season underway we find that no AFC South team has a firm grasp of the division and it could literally go to anyone at this point.

Tight

With the Texans recently beating the Bengals, and Andrew Luck not being available for the Colts for the next few weeks, Houston are expected battle it out with Indy for the divisional crown. Being realistic, though, the Jaguars and Titans aren't out of it just yet - a couple of consecutive wins could once again have them in the hunt for the division.

So who will win the division? Well, let me give you a quick rundown of each team which will let you decide who will take the AFC South.

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The Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts may not have Andrew Luck playing for them right now, they do, however, have a grizzled veteran in Matt Hasselbeck who is actually more accomplished than Andrew Luck right now. Hasselbeck took the Seahawks to the Superbowl back in 2005, let's not forget that.

Anyway, the Colts went into their bye week after defeating the recently unbeaten Denver Broncos, a huge win for the Colts - both in terms of boosting their morale and for their record - as right now they sit atop of the AFC South separated from the Texans by a divisional win they had over Houston in week five.

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The Colts have the best running back in the division, Frank Gore, who, while getting up there in years, is still averaging four yards-per-carry. He will be utilised more heavily as the Colts go forward for a number of weeks without Andrew Luck.

With Matt Hasselbeck in at quarterback, the Colts will adopt an offensive philosophy that won them booth of Hasselbeck's prior starts.

This includes running the ball and throwing the ball short, allowing the receivers to do most of the work over their weak offensive line.

This isn't such a bad strategy, having the speedster TY Hilton and a possession catcher in Andre Johnson, plus a couple of talented tight ends, the Colts' quick passing game could be deadly.

Defensively, the Colts aren't a juggernaut, they are an inconsistent unit that has played very well at certain moments, for example, the first half of the Broncos game which they completely shut down Peyton Manning.

If the Colts defence can play consistently, they are a unit that is definitely good enough to compliment their offence.

If Indy can play consistent defence, and get into a rhythm of a good run/pass balance on offense to aid their ageing quarterback and weak offensive line until Andrew Luck is back, the Colts should resume normal service as the king of the south.

The Houston Texans

The Texans have had a few games that turned out to be total debacles this year - week one versus the Kansas City Chiefs, and week seven against the Miami Dolphins.

Since that horrendous week seven loss to the Dolphins, though, the Texans have not allowed a touchdown and appear to be trending in the right direction in some areas.

The quarterback situation continues to be a serious question and the decision to draft Jadeveon Clowney last year over a Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, or Derek Carr still remains a mystery to me, but moving on.

Whoever is in at quarterback for the Texans has one hell of a player to throw the ball too; DeAndre Hopkins.

Hopkins is quickly ascending to the top tier of receivers in this league and it's a shame he has to work with such a patchwork group of quarterbacks, but even still, he is making eye-popping plays.

Their run game was captained by the versatile Arian Foster, but with his Achilles injury sidelining him for the year it is now manned by second-year player Alfred Blue who has showed some explosiveness on occasion and will be relied upon heavily as the season winds down.

The strength of this Texans team though resides with its defence.

They have numerous playmakers across the board, from the ever present JJ Watt to veteran Jonathan Joseph and Brian Cushing. That group completely shut down the high-octane Bengals offence last night ending the Bengals undefeated streak.

If the Texans are to win the AFC South they will have to do so with their defence, the offence is too inconsistent to carry this team, but the defence, when it plays at its best, is something to be feared.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team I had high hopes for this year. Not high hopes as in being one of the best teams in the league, but just hopes they could grow and improve from what they were last year.

Sad to say though the Jaguars look exactly the same as last year, but since the division is so bad, they still have a chance to top the division.

The Jaguars offence has a collection of really talented, young players that are really hampered by a weak offensive line.

TJ Yeldon, the young rookie running back, has shown signs that he can be the team's franchise back, doing a bit of everything from running to catching the ball, even drawing comparisons to all pro runner Le'Veon Bell.

Blake Bortles and the receivers he works with, mainly Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, have turned into a deadly trio.

The second-year quarterback is always finding ways to get these two the ball and he manages to spread the ball around equally between the two.

Finding these guys more often as the season goes on and dropping Yeldon his fair share of catches is sure to help propel the Jags for the division crown

An area that needs to be improved upon is mistake making. Bortles has to end the back-breaking interceptions that have overshadowed the progress he has made in his second year in the league.

Defensively, the Jaguars don't scare anyone. One thing they do well, though, is keeping the score low.

In more than a few of their games this year the Jaguars defence has held opponents to under 20 points, only for the Jags offence to be incapable of gaining those game-winning scores.

If the Jaguars play solid defence, keeping the score low, and Bortles - with his exciting receivers -takes advantage of opportunities and avoids mistakes, all the while involving TJ Yeldon in the offence more, the Jaguars will slowly creep to the top of the AFC South.

Tennesse Titans

The Titans are the bottom of the AFC South, but when I say at the bottom I mean by just two games, so, despite firing their head coach a couple of weeks back, the division is still legitimately in reach for the franchise.

Young quarterback Marcus Mariota has showed us some real good games this year, namely the blowout wins over Jameis Winston in week one, and the recent overtime victory against the Saints in week eight.

In-between those games though he has not been great.

The Titans have a bevvy of young, playmaking receivers and Kendall Wright is a really underrated talent in my eyes, he needs to get the ball more. Delanie Walker, their tight end, has had a few special games this year and he is a legitimate threat that defences have to account for.

Running the ball they have a collection of options; Bishop Sankey, Dexter McCluster and Antonio Andrews (as well as rookie David Cobb who is set to be active soon).

All three run differently, and all three bring something different to the Titans, it's just a shame that all three aren't difference makers.

The Titans' run game can be stopped and unless they find a way to open up more holes, it'll have to be Mariota that drags this team to the playoffs.

Defensively, they are quite underrated. They were the number one ranked pass defence for a number of weeks and they are quietly getting to the quarterback with a good pass rushing duo of Brian Orakpo and Derick Morgan.

This is a defence that can help out Mariota and could be one of the reasons, I'm going to say the main reason, why Tennesse can get to the post season.

Building on improving the passing game with Walker and Wright, and continuing to chase down opposing quarterbacks will surely help the Titans become the AFC division leader.

So with my basic rundown of all the AFC South teams who do you think will win the division?

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Topics:
Indianapolis Colts
Houston Texans
Tennessee Titans
Jacksonville Jaguars
NFL

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