Welcome back to our 2014 season preview of NFL teams that you love, hate to love, and love to hate. Asinine Analysis is here to give some fans hope and other fans a face mask penalty back into reality.
Some divisions are feared across the league. When the inter-division rotation shows that your team will be taking on those divisions, you may start wondering what the draft will be like next year rather than how you can get into the playoffs.
Our next targets — the teams of the AFC South — are not in that division.
Record: 2-14. After a streak of two division titles over the Manning-less Colts, the Houston Texans once again made way for the Colts last season… as well as every other team on their schedule. They couldn’t even pull off one win against the Jaguars, and they played them twice!
The Good: When it comes to the Houston Texans this season, positives will have to be taken out of what doesn’t happen. Will this year’s quarterback throw a pick-6 in four consecutive games? Probably not. Will Texans fans burn jerseys in the parking lot as some sort of exorcism ritual for their team? Probably not. Will new head coach Bill O’Brien collapse on the field when his team is actually winning at half time? Probably not.
The Bad: When you’re comparing quarterbacks by how many touchdowns they scored for the other team, chances are that your last quarterback left you scarred for life. That’s where the Texans are at right now. Hometown hero Case Keenum didn’t get the job done after Matt Schaub kept forgetting which end zone he was supposed to be moving towards, so now the Texans are stuck with football’s version of a Grizzly Adams at quarterback.
The Ugly: I hate to stick to the Matt Schaub subject, but he really brought out the worst in the people of Houston last season: jersey burnings; late night home visits; reversion to Dallas Cowboys fans. (So I’ve heard.)
And then there was this super-fan who pretended he was taking Schaub for a long drive.
I know Shaulb has been playing bad.. But this is just extreme. pic.twitter.com/oVmeVIlAE7
ó Emma Kelly (@EKelly13) October 14, 2013
Good luck, Ryan Fitzpatrick. It’s probably best to avoid hitchhiking when you’re in Houston. Just some friendly advice.
Record: 11-5. The Colts took the AFC South back last season, which isn’t really cause for celebration considering none of the other teams had someone who could be considered a quarterback. What is cause for celebration is that they won a playoff game, even if it was against a wildcard team with a better record than 75% of the rest of the teams in the playoffs.
The Good: Coach Chuck Pagano tells it like it is! “We’re gonna have a balanced offense with a smash-mouth defense that’s going to bore the hell out of everyone! Big hugs, guys!”
Well, that’s the basic idea, anyway. Andrew Luck has officially pushed aside most memories of Peyton Manning, and not just because he was sometimes mistaken for Animal from The Muppets. The neck-beard is gone, but is showing signs of regrowth in training camp.
The Bad: That balanced offense is teetering due to injury. Vick Ballard is out… again. That leaves running duties to Trent Richardson again, backed by Ahmad Bradshaw and whenever Andrew Luck feels like scrambling, which will account for half of the Colts’ rushing yards.
The Ugly: Andrew Luck seriously needs to get off this beard fad. Either that or he has to strive to grow it out so that it meets his chest hair. That way we’ll know for sure that he doesn’t really think it looks good.
Record: 4-12. NOT THE WORST, BABY! WHOOOOOOOOOO! It was close, but the Houston Texans were able to find a way to lose two games against the Jaguars in one season, thus cementing the Jaguars’ claim to the second worst record in the AFC South. They were also able to share the third worst record in the NFL with four other teams that were not all as awful, but close enough.
The Good: At the very least, the Jaguars can still rely on the running game of Mauri…. oh, he’s gone. Well, at least the Jaguars have some shiny new toys with quarterback Blake Bortles and receiver Marqise Lee.
Some analysts think Bortles was a reach at the #3 pick in the draft, but when you have to deal with Blaine Gabbert for two and a half seasons, a fresh face at quarterback is necessary.
The Bad: While Maurice Jones-Drew wasn’t exactly explosive last season, it’s hard to believe that Toby Gerhart is going to be much better. You don’t hang out in Adrian Peterson’s shadow for four seasons because you’re being groomed as a starter.
Also, Justin Blackmon is still suspended. In case you didn’t get the memo.
The Ugly: No one is taking the Jaguars seriously. At least, no more seriously than the NFL shipping a team to London. Even coach Gus Bradley doesn’t take the team as seriously as Jack Del Rio did. Del Rio used to suit up like an NBA coach, or wear the Jaguars leather jacket that we see owner Shahid Khan in all the time. That was a coach! Gus Bradley looks more like my dad on Sunday evening: sweatshirt, sweatpants, mismatched socks, and chin stubble that hasn’t been touched since Friday morning.
As far as fan support, it’s gotten to the point that EverBank Field has installed swimming pools to entice fans to come to games. It’s probably cheaper than getting one of those town park passes, and if you get tired of swimming, there lots of other stuff to do! You can sunbathe poolside, or go grab some food, or if you’re really bored, go watch a football game. Sorry, went a little overboard there.
Record: 7-9. Yeah, it didn’t feel like that good of a season, but the Titans won a whole seven games. This is probably because the last two games the Tennessee Titans played were against the Jaguars and Texans, who were doing their best to secure a top draft pick.
The Good: The Titans have good, generic talent across the board. It’s nothing spectacular. The Titans didn’t have one player selected to the Pro Bowl last year. Not even a lineman. What they also don’t have is Kenny Britt wasting away on the sideline. He is the Rams’ problem now.
The Titans also signed Clipboard Jesus, so if there is a Pro Bowl spot for official backup quarterback, the Titans will clinch it with Charlie Whitehurst provided he doesn’t have to actually play.
The Bad: With J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney on the Houston Texans, quarterback Jake Locker has a maximum of eight weeks left on his natural-born NFL life. We might as well put Locker in a full-body cast now and call it a season. Jake, we hardly knew ye.
The Ugly: When everyone was doing real NFL draft projections, you know, analyzing who a team should draft to help their team, I was doing the exact opposite because, hey, I’m a jerk when it comes to sports reporting.
I did a breakdown on the absolute worst picks a team could make in the first round of the draft, and the only team that actually took their projected worst pick was the Tennessee Titans when they drafted offensive tackle Taylor Lewan. Now everyone is jumping on the boat to ridicule the Titans for the pick, but I can say that I was there first. Hopefully GM Ruston Webster didn’t misunderstand my article and think, “Hey, now! That’s a great idea!” If so, I’m sorry, Tennessee.
Patrick Emmel is a sports humorist who once punted a soccer ball fifty yards to his teammate, who then scored the only goal for his college intramural soccer team’s season. Seriously, that kick was placed PERFECTLY. He is also still a believer that Colt McCoy is going to break out as an NFL quarterback. You can read more of his obnoxious commentary at This Jeer In Sports and heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.