had a mistake in my last column. An old friend of mine, Alvin White, said that, contrary to what I wrote last week in my comment on the Miami Dolphins, that Josh Rosen was indeed on the roster. I checked and he’s right. Sorry about the error.
Looking at the AFC South, there are three teams which, with the right luck, could win the division. Actually, Jacksonville could win it if they get the right combination as they did two years ago.
I’m going with the Indianapolis Colts first. Their luck starts with Andrew Luck, their quarterback and his health. He had a great comeback from injury last year but is nursing a calf injury and the team is going slowly with his reps in training camp. They made great progress defensively and with their offensive line last year which helped ease the burden on Luck.
Speaking of luck, the Houston Texans have to hope for better luck with quarterback De’Shawn Watson and defensive tackle J.J.Watt as far as injuries are concerned. Watson hasn’t played a full season yet and Watt is the best at his position in the game.
I am baffled by the Tennessee Titans trade for Ryan Tannenill from both ends. Miami created a void at quarterback that they may fill with Rosen(time will tell) while creating a potential quarterback controversy between Tannenhill and incumbent Marcus Mariota. I’ve written how quarterback controversies have hindered teams in the past and my point still stands. They are still good enough to win the division.
One could rationalize that the Jacksonville Jaguars’ season last year as just bad luck. I have to disagree with that as they screwed up from start to finish from destroying Blake Borydles’ confidence to clashes between management and key players (Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Fournette)and so forth. With the exception of signing of Nick Foles , who has to prove that he can succeed outside of Philadelphia, nothing has really changed.
Finishing up with the AFC West, the Los Angeles Chargers, Melvin Gordon or no Melvin Gordon, they remain the best team in the division overall. Phillip Rivers is the best proven quarterback in the division, despite Pat Mahomes II’s MVP season, and the team is set up to give anybody a battle. Winning the home field advantage would be their best bet to make the Super Bowl.
The Kansas City Chiefs are downgraded a bit because of off-the-field issues which cost them Kendrick Hunt and will hinder Tyreek Hill (it would have been better for him to be suspended because it may be the only way to get through to him). The team is still good enough to win on offense, but their defense needs to be shored up.
The Oakland Raiders, in Year Two of the Jon Gruden regime, are a good example of the theatre of the absurd. Gruden doesn’t really have much confidence in quarterback Derek Carr
who hasn’t been the same since he got injured in a playoff game, and the team traded for Antonio Brown, who ego-tripped his way out of Pittsburgh, and signed Vontaze Burfict and Ritchie Incognito despite the former’s on-field rap sheet and the latter’s locker room reputation. To give them credit, they did draft well.
The Denver Broncos still have Von Miller on defense, but have floundered at quarterback since Peyton Manning retired (and he struggled with injury his last year). John Elway has been trying to find the next Elway and several young quarterbacks have been wrecked by that. Now, Joe Flacco, at 35, is hoping to have his career revived by the move to Denver with young quarterback Drew Lock in reserve whenever he signs.
As for the AFC playoff field, I see New England, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Los Angeles as division winners and Cleveland and .Kansas City as wild-cards. I see NewEngland and Los Angeles as the final two and Los Angeles winning 27-21. See you next week.
Contact Jeff Harvey at firstname.lastname@example.org