So, let me preface this by saying it's clearly too early to have this conversation, but we're all riding a high after yesterday and I'm going to do it anyway. But after yesterday's games, we can all agree on one thing: the AFC South appears wide open. Aside from the hopeless Jags, who have a real shot at going 0-16, the Titans, Texans and Colts are all 2-1 and appear to have a shot at the division. So, let's break this down individually.
Houston could just as easily be 1-2 or 0-3 after coming back from a huge deficit against San Diego and coming back from a fourth quarter deficit to beat our Titans (at home no less). They were the clear favorite going into the season, but that division has been severely blurred after three games. Their defense is top five in terms of yards, but 24th best in terms of points given up, so I anticipate those two numbers will balance out and they'll be somewhere in the middle by season's end. Offensively, they're top 10 in both rushing and passing, but only 15th best in points. They're great at driving the ball and racking up yards, but always struggle in the red zone.
Their next four games are really, really tough. They get Seattle at home and then go to San Francisco to face a 49ers team which has really underachieved so far only to come back home to face a dangerous St. Louis team and go on the road to play Kansas City (which is never easy). More than likely, they'll be looking at 4-3 going into the bye week, but I wouldn't rule out 3-4. Bottom line, this team is nowhere near as scary as I thought they'd be.
Everyone though this team would only go as far as Andrew Luck would carry them, but it's their running game and defense which has really helped them make strides so far this season. Offensively, they're third in the league in rushing yards per game, which will only improve as Trent Richardson figures out the offense. And defensively they went from being 26th in yards per game last season to 15th through three games. They just got done pushing the 49ers around at home, outgaining them on the ground, through the air and forcing two turnovers.
I still this this team could be overachieving, but I though the same thing last season, and this is a young group that will only get better as the season progresses. They get Jacksonville this week, but then get a tough three game stretch at home against Seattle, at San Diego and hosting Denver. More than likely, they're looking at 4-3 at the bye week, but I could just as easily see 3-4 or 5-2.
Improvements on the offensive line have done wonders for the running game, which went from 21st in the league to 6th best in the league. And while the Titans passing attack hasn't quite made a monumental leap forward, the Titans are second in the AFC in turnover differential, yet to turn the ball over a single time. Defensively, though, is where they clearly have made the leap forward, going from the sixth worst season ago to ninth best through three games.
The Titans get New York and Kansas City at home, but then have to go to Seattle (an almost guaranteed loss) before hosting the 49ers at home. Again, I think 4-3 is the most likely record, but it could be better or worse.
Bottom line, I think we could be looking at three 4-3 football teams heading into the bye week, and nothing will be decided until divisional play really heats up. So who does everyone think wins the division? And could this division have a wild card representative?