NFL Whip Around: What to Watch for in the Southern Divisions

The NFL’s offseason is at a conclusion as teams start to have an eye towards camp. Some teams want to wash the bitter taste of last season out of their mouths while others want more than the sweet appetizer they experienced. The Philadelphia Eagles hope to get comfortable at the head of the table in an all-out buffet.

Yes, it is an exciting time in around the NFL as everyone is undefeated at 0-0. With that being said, let’s take a look at both Southern divisions in the league.

Eastern Divisions

Western Divisions

Northern Divisions

AFC South

Houston Texans

2017 Record: 4-12

Key Addition: Tyrann Mathieu

Notable Loss: Marcus Gilchrist

Key an eye on…: Deshaun Watson.

Watson is coming off an incredible yet short-lived rookie campaign. He threw 19 touchdowns and appeared well on his way to eclipsing the rookie record (26). Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see Nick Martin and Julie’n Davenport develop as Watson needs a clean space to operate in. If not a clean pocket, at least for the sake of his health.

Indianapolis Colts

2017 Record: 4-12

Key Addition: Andrew Luck

Notable Loss: Frank Gore

Keep an eye on…:  a refined offense.

Out goes Gore and in steps Marlon Mack. Out goes Donte Moncrief and in comes Ryan Grant as he could be the number two receiver. Chester Rogers could be poised for more work also Eric Ebron inked a new deal with Indy. Expect some double tight end sets with both he and Jack Doyle. Luck might not play in the preseason.

Jacksonville Jaguars

2017 Record: 10-6

Key Addition: Austin Seferian-Jenkins

Notable Loss: Paul Posluszny

Keep an eye on…: the passing game.

Leonard Fournette might see little-to-no action now that he has established himself as the man at tail. The focus lies on Blake Bortles and a slew of receivers that is mired in question marks.

Moncrief left Indy as he never built on his 2015 campaign (733 yards and seven scores). Dede Westbrook, Rashad Greene Sr., and Marqise Lee are built the same way and have similar playing styles. Also, DJ Chark is a 6’4 blazing rookie from LSU. Look for Bortles and company to establish a rapport.

Tennessee Titans

2017 Record: 9-7

Key Addition: Malcolm Butler

Notable Loss: Avery Williamson

Keep an eye on…: the team adopting Mike Vrabel’s mannerisms.

Vrabel was a tough, versatile, and blue collar player during his 14-year career. The Texans defense took on his personality and despite losing a lot of games it was not because of his unit. The Titans should get back to their ground-and-pound style of play and defense.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

2017 Record: 10-6

Key Addition: Calvin Ridley

Notable Loss: Dontari Poe

Keep an eye on…: the Julio Jones-front office stalemate.

It is very simple just give the man what he is asking for. The Falcons do not want to get pushed around, but the fact of the matter is Jones is no scrub. They are only hurting themselves the longer they hold out on this matter. Not to mention, they should pay him before Odell Beckham Jr. breaks the bank.

Carolina Panthers

2017 Record: 11-5

Key Addition: Torrey Smith

Notable Loss: Kurt Coleman

Keep an eye on…: the receivers.

Life has been rough following the departure of Steve Smith Sr. Since he left in 2013, Carolina has only had one receiver go over 1,000 yards (Kelvin Benjamin) and they traded him away. No pressure DJ Moore. No really as he steps into a situation where Greg Olsen is the man and Devin Funchess showed promise last season. Smith already loves him too as he told reporters Moore “has that dog in him”.

New Orleans Saints

2017 Record: 11-5

Key Addition: Cameron Meredith

Notable Loss: Kenny Vaccaro

Keep an eye on…: the backfield.

Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are more than likely going to play a series a piece in every preseason contest, excluding week 3. However, when the season starts, Ingram will be gone for four games for violating the league’s policy against performance-enhancing substances. The preseason will be a battle featuring the barrage of potential third string backs in Daniel Lasco, Jonathan Williams, Trey Edmunds, and Zach Line. Kamara can and will need help in those first four games.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2017 Record: 5-11

Key Addition: Ronald Jones II

Notable Loss: Doug Martin

Keep an eye on…: Jameis Winston.

The Bucs will be without their starting quarterback for the first three games of the season, pending an appeal by Winston. The league suspended him for three games following an alleged incident that happened in March of 2016 with an Uber driver. The female driver described Winston as “very physically imposing” as he, allegedly, grabbed her crotch. This is a serious situation that should be resolved in the coming weeks.

Certainly there are some interesting situations and players to pay attention to heading into training camp. Things should then begin to pick up and sort themselves out as we approach the end of preseason.

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