2014 NFL Preview and Predictions

Aaron Rodgers

AFC South

Tennessee Titans 10-6: Jake Locker was once a highly regarded quarterback prospect from the University of Washington. Ken Whisenhunt was the highly sought-after head coach that took the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl in his second season. Both men put together have the ability to bring out the best in one another. With an improved running game behind Bishop Sankey (if the Titans succeed, it will be on his legs, not Shonn Greene’s), and a few weapons for Locker, the Titans could be the surprise team of the AFC South.

Indianapolis Colts 9-7 Wild Card: It’s a quarterback league now, and the Colts were somehow able to seamlessly transition from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck without a hiccup (excluding the injury to Manning to that landed Luck in the first place). The Colts, behind their quarterback, should be good for years to come. Their basement should consistently by placed at eight wins, with the upside of ten or eleven in any given year. Question marks surrounding the health of Reggie Wayne’s knee and the production of Hakeem Nicks keep the Colts towards the lower end of the potential, but still earn them a playoff berth.

Houston Texans 7-9: The NFL’s most disappointing team from 2013, the Houston Texans turned a 2-0 start to an improbable 2-14 record. For the second time in nine seasons, the Texans used the first overall pick in the NFL draft to select a defensive end. Jadeveon Clowney will be paired with J.J. Watt and anchor what could potentially be the league’s best defensive line. If Arian Foster can stay healthy in the backfield, the Texans have a chance at rebounding nicely. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is capable of leading the team to wins, but the future likely rests on the arm of rookie Tom Savage or newly acquired Ryan Mallett. Unless Fitzpatrick is carrying the team towards into a playoff race, the season could quickly turn into a rebuilding year for Houston.

Jacksonville Jaguars 5-11: The perennial losers of the past decade, the Jaguars haven’t posted a winning season since 2007. Jacksonville may have finally found their future quarterback in Blake Bortles, but his debut will have to wait as Chad Henne gets the Opening Day start. The future may be bright for the Jaguars, but there is nothing to indicate that the wins will start in 2014.

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Mario Mergola
Mario Mergola is a writer, avid sports fan, former ESPN Radio producer, husband, and father who specializes in finding the hidden gems of the less-explored option. Follow @MarioMergola

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