1) Indianapolis Colts- (12-4) – Why pick against them? Give me one reason… I’m waiting. This team has a healthy WR Anthony Gonzalez, DE Dwight Freeney, LB Gary Brackett, and SS Bob Sanders, and the still have Peyton Manning at QB. The Colts have had an amazing run of seasons with 12 wins in a season. Yes Houston is once again a sexy choice to make big moves this year and Tennessee was red hot at the end of the year in 2009 but the Colts are still the top team and they show no sign of slipping. In fact the only thing that may slow down the Colts is the rules change with the umpire moving to behind the QB this year causing the Colts no huddle offense to move slower than in the past.
2) Tennessee Titans- (10-6) – The Titans have a very solid defense, and they will not be in the bottom half of the NFL again in 2010 like they were last year. The defense was dreadful in the Titans last 6 games of 2009, but they only game up 17 or less in 6 of their final 10 games. On offense the Titans look completely different with Vince Young at QB, and now that he has confidence back in himself his team around him is full of confidence. Chris Johnson will in all likelyhood not run for 2,000 yards again in 2010, but he will not need to as the passing game should improve as Vince Young has had more time to gain chemistry with Kenny Britt. It is going to be a close battle between the Titans and Texans for second place and a playoff birth, and I’d give the edge to the Titans.
3) Houston Texans- (9-7) – Prove it. Just prove that you are worth it. The Houston Texans are the new Arizona Cardinals from a few years ago. They are a great passing team that has a ton of talent and everyone has been saying for a few years now to watch out for them, but I have not bought into them. At this point I want for them to prove that they are worth picking before I take the chance on them. The Texans have a great quarterback in Matt Schaub, a good pass catching tight end in Owen Daniels, a top flight wide out in Andre Johnson, and several good young defensive players in Mario WIlliams, Brian Cushing, DeMeco Ryans. The one thing that has to scare you is that the Texans is that they cannot beat the Colts and this year they have very little talent in the secondary. I would not surprised to see this team make the playoffs, but at the same time if they end up 8-8 or 9-7 again it would not shock me either.
4) Jacksonville Jaguars- (4-12) – The Jaguars are still on the decline and while Mike Sims-Walker and Maurice Jones-Drew are great players, the team is lacking a lot of overall talent. The defense needs to be revamped, the offensive line is very weak, and while David Garrard is good a good player he is in the bottom third of the league in terms of starting quarterbacks. The problem with the Jaguars is that they have missed on a lot of their free agent additions and recent number one draft picks. Look for both GM Gene Smith and coach Jack Del Rio to be out of a job after another disappointing year in Jacksonville.