Some things seem to never change, and in the AFC South that means the Colts win the division.
After last season when the Titans came out of nowhere to try and change everyone's assumptions about the South it looks more and more like our collective perceptions are the reality.
In other words some things will never change.
At this point last season Tennessee's defense was playing out of their minds and the rushing duo of 'Smash-n-Dash' couldn't be contained. Cut to 2009 and the Titans defense has sunk like the Titanic. At least 'Dash' is still slashing his way through defenses, Lendale seems to be running on 7 of 8 cylinders. 'Smash' well, maybe he should be stashed.
All is right in the South again.
The Colts are as potent as the throwing arm they are lead by and have put together a 7-0 record. The defense has only given up 91 points and this has been achieved without their second best defensive player in Bob Sanders being available. Even with Dwight Freeney not being 100% for the bulk of the season Indy is 5th in sacks and 7th in yards allowed.
The offense is still a juggernaut in the league and the stats agree. The Colts are 8th in points, 7th in yards and Peyton has thrown a total of 4 interceptions with a 109.3 rating. They have top 10 rushing touchdown numbers eventhough they don't break the top 10 in rushing yards but heck, nobody's perfect, right?
It will be hard to unseat the Colts as the season goes on. There are still a couple of teams with a shot though.
The Texans started off the season with highs and lows, but with a 5-3 record it looks as though they are starting to find their stride.
The offense has arguably the most talented weapon at wide receiver in the league in Andre Johnson. With a healthy Matt Schaub (as I type this I cross my fingers) the Texans have a shot to put solid points on the board every week. The only hiccup has been the fumbling of Steve Slaton but if Ryan Moats' performance last week is any indication of what's to come Houston has no worries. The loss of Owen Daniels is bigger than a lot of people might think and it could be the only achilles' heel in an offense that otherwise appears to have a balance of strength all around.
The defense is a tough read. Everytime I'm convinced that they've turned the corner and are ready to crack the top 10 for the entire season they let a struggling team score at will. They have some young studs in DeMeco Ryans, Mario Williams and Brian Cushing to go along with a bunch of other talented youth. In the long run Houston's drafting on the defensive side of the ball is going to pay back big dividends.
If the Texans get hot they could make a run and push for the top spot.
The Jaguars need to run Maurice Jones-Drew a little more, and by a little more I mean every opportunity they have to hand their best offensive weapon the ball they need to do so. Mike Sims-Walker was a little known commodity at the beginning of the season that quietly started to become a threat. Then the silence was broken when he got suspended for one game to do a little tail chasin'. He is easily Garrard's best weapon.
The defense is supposed to be the straw that stirs the drink. Jack Del Rio has done little to get this unit on track. Jacksonville is 24th in points but somehow 11th in yardage. It could be that they are dead last in the league in sacks, meaning they are dead last in the league at pressuring the quarterback. If there were ever a time for making a case to fire the head coach, now would be that time.
At 3-4 the Jaguars are on the far outside looking in. Maybe the time has come to make some changes.
That brings us to the Titans.
The same titans that rolled to a division crowining 13-3 season stand at 1-6.
Could it be possible that not resigning Albert Haynesworth has had this much of an impact on Tennessee?
The Titans defense is 31st in points against after ranking 2nd last season. Last season they were 7th in yards against. This season they're 28th. Tennessee's success under Jeff Fisher has always been fueled by the defense. At this point it's safe to say they are running on empty.
The offense last season was predicated on ball control by running the rock down everybody's throat. They kept the clock running and the defense fresh. They kept it third and short and had a high conversion percentage. Kerry Collins last season played like he didn't know who he was. I guess this season he remembered and threw the ball everywhere but where it needed to be and finally flung himself on the bench. Vince Young stepped in and earned the win and eventough I believe he has the competitive nature to be a winner I don't see the qualities needed to be a solid starter. I like to watch him play but I don't think he is the answer.
The ground game is still eating up turf, only this season it's in spurts. Chris Johnson has gained the bulk of his yardage in a couple of games and after ripping of a couple huge gains against some softer rushing defenses his YPC average is misleading. Last year LenDale White cranked up the motor and blasted his way into the endzone 15 times. This season he has 1. In the offseason he started a self imposed 'tequila' diet to improve his performance. If I'm a Titans fan I'm buying a case of Patron and heading over to White's house so we can drink away our sorrows in hopes of him returning to last years form.
Maybe he is hitting on all 8 cylinders, he's just not running on high octane anymore.