Ultimate Depth Chart: AFC South
SportsCenter's Ultimate Depth Chart series will break down each NFL division over the next two weeks.
It's always a long summer in anticipation of the new NFL season, but "SportsCenter" has come up with a way to keep your attention aimed between the end zones.
|ULTIMATE DEPTH CHART|
June 11 -- AFC East: Story
June 12 -- AFC West: Story
June 13 -- AFC North: Story
June 14 -- AFC South: Story
June 15 -- AFC: Story
June 18 -- NFC East: Story
June 19 -- NFC West: Story
June 20 -- NFC North: Story
June 21 -- NFC South: Story
June 22 -- NFC: Vote
Watch "SportsCenter" and check back each day to see the expert picks as well as the results from SportsNation.
Best offense in the AFC South?
Mark Schlereth: Indianapolis Colts
It's hard to vote against the Colts. This is an amazing offense to watch and I believe they will get better now that running back Joseph Addai is in his second year and truly understands his role. Also the drafting of receiver Anthony Gonzalez out of Ohio State gives this team the ability to go back to the three-receiver sets that have made them so dangerous in the past.
Merril Hoge: Colts
As long as the Colts still have Peyton Manning, they will always be one of the premier offensive teams in this division. Don't think this team is going to fall prey to the post-Super Bowl malaise that has cursed some recent teams, because these players are dedicated to winning and proving their long-term greatness.
Joe Theismann: Colts
Offensively Manning and the Colts are a class above the rest of the teams in this division. The key to a great offense is the quarterback, and this division is too young (Tennessee), untested (Houston) or the situation is too muddled (Jacksonville) at quarterback for any of these teams to compete with Indianapolis in this category.
Best defense in the AFC South?
Schlereth: Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags are tough to beat at every level, but they especially excel in the trenches. They line up two monsters in John Henderson and Marcus Stroud who are not only big and strong, but who move their feet extremely well. As an offensive lineman there is nothing worse than having to face someone who is bigger than you, stronger than you, faster than you and who knows where they want to go. At that point, it's almost not fair to the offensive line.
Jacksonville can dominate a game simply because of the aforementioned presence of Henderson and Stroud. Those two demand special attention, which makes it much easier for the second and third levels of the defense to dominate.
The Colts' speed is the reason they are my pick to be the best defense in the division. This team has the ability to overpower teams with its speed off the edges to force quarterbacks either into making bad throws or to quickly switch to their secondary targets. Guys like Dwight Freeney possess the type of game-changing speed that allows the Colts to make enough stops to win games.
Best team in the AFC South?
I can't go against the Colts in this division because they are such a well-put-together team and also because the other teams in the division have so many question marks that have yet to be answered. With the Jaguars flirting with possibly signing Daunte Culpepper, there is no way to know who is going to be starting under center at the beginning of the season. The Texans have brought in a young, unproven starter and Tennessee seems too young and inexperienced to be a playoff contender, much less a division winner.
The Colts have more overall talent and experience than any other team in this division. The Jaguars always seem to be on the cusp of fighting them for the division crown, but they haven't been able to get over the hump and take it from them. If any team in this division can do it though, it's the Jaguars, because they understand that in football, to beat the best you have to walk up and punch a team in the mouth, and that's the way the Jaguars like to play.
The other teams in this division are a year or two away from seriously contending for this divisional crown. That said, I do expect the Texans, Titans and Jaguars to give the Colts trouble this season in head-to-head matchups because of the physical nature of the defenses. The Colts have struggled in the past with defenses that have been overly physical with them, and that's the way the other AFC South teams constructed their defensive schemes, but sadly for those three teams, it won't be enough to dethrone the champ.