Road to Super Bowl 53: AFC South Preview

The ‘Road to Super Bowl 53’ is just under a month from officially kicking off for teams heading to training camp. Could 2018 be the year of the AFC South’s rise?

Jacksonville Jaguars

2017 Record: 10-6, AFC South Champions

One of the biggest surprises of the 2017 NFL season, the Jacksonville Jaguars not only won the AFC South, but were runners-up in the AFC Championship, facing off against the New England Patriots.

When you rise to a 10-6 record and one-win away from the Super Bowl, you don’t mess with the formula too much. That’s why the Jacksonville Jaguars had what could be considered a relatively-quiet offseason. The team did choose to move on from wide receiver Allen Robinson, instead signing former Colts wide receiver Donte Moncrief, and getting what many considered the best offensive lineman in free agency in former Panthers tackle Andrew Norwell.


Tennessee Titans

2017 Record: 9-7

An injury to quarterback Marcus Mariota left the Titans struggling to keep up with the Jaguars in 2017, but that didn’t stop the team from reloading in the 2018 offseason.

The team signed a pair of prized former Patriots in running back Dion Lewis and defensive back Malcom Butler, pairing well with new head coach (and former Patriot) Mike Vrabel. Tennessee did let plenty of nana players walk, most notably running back DeMarco Murray and wide receiver Eric Decker, but that doesn’t seem to be a major concern for fans about the future, considering both players’ production has dropped off in recent seasons.


Indianapolis Colts

2017 Record: 4-12

The Colts are hoping they will finally have their quarterback. After season of “will he, won’t he,” quarterback Andrew Luck finally appears to be ready to hit the field, and he’ll have a brand new coaching staff and revamped roster to do so with.

After hiring Super Bowl champion offensive coordinator Frank Reich as their new head coach, the Colts underwent something of a transformation in the 2018 offseason, reverting back to the 4-3 defensive scheme and bringing in players to fit that. First priority, however, was protecting Luck, bringing in offensive linemen Quenton Nelson (1st-round draft pick), Austin Howard (Raiders) and Matt Slauson (LAC). On the defensive side, the Colts also signed former Raiders standout Denico Autry, and drafted plenty of young defensive talent.



Houston Texans

2017 Record: 4-12

A mid-season knee injury to quarterback Deshaun Watson left the Texans to struggle in the AFC South, but that wouldn’t stop the team from reloading around him in the offseason.

Houston brought in plenty of talent on both sides of the ball in 2018, most notably the “honey badger,” safety Tyrann Mathieu, and defensive backs Johnson Bademosi and Aaron Colvin, helping shore up the team’s defensive pass attack. Watson looks to return in 2018 at full strength, and will return the majority of his offensive receiving core and offensive line in the process.


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Indianapolis Colts Weekly Update: @ Houston Texans

After falling to 2-6 on the 2017 NFL season, the Indianapolis Colts looked to keep their slim divisional chances alive as they traveled to Houston to take on the division-rival Texans.

Holding On for a Win

With a 20-7 lead in the fourth quarter, Colts fans were in a familiar place; uncomfortable, with the Colts leading, hoping the team would survive a comeback. This time, however, the episode had a happy ending, as the Colts would hold on for a 20-14 victory, moving to 3-6 on the season.

The shining star of Sunday’s Week 9 matchup was wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who managed to reel in two touchdowns and 175 yards on just five catches, a mere days after rumors of the receiver’s possible trade away from the team were swirling.

Solid Brissett

After news of Andrew Luck’s move to the injured reserve list and his resulting miss of the remainder of the season, the reigns of the team were officially handed to quarterback Jacoby Brissett for the rest of the season. And Brissett did not disappoint on Sunday.

Brissett would finish Sunday’s victory with a 66.7% completion percentage, 308 yards and two touchdowns, including two beautiful throws to the aforementioned Hilton.

Looking Forward

The Indianapolis Colts return home in Week 10 to face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers, before taking in their bye week the following week.



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Indianapolis Colts Season Preview: Weeks 13-17

The Indianapolis Colts are looking to rebound from their disappointing 2016 campaign and return to the NFL Playoffs in 2017. We’re looking at the road that lies ahead, with the final installment of the 2017 Colts Season Preview.

Week 13: Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars – Dec 3, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

The second of the two divisional matchups, the Colts will travel to Jacksonville, a city that hasn’t always been kind to the team. Although last year the team’s squared off in the NFL’s International Series at Wembley Stadium in London, the Colts have lost the last two “road” games against the Jaguars.

Week 14: Indianapolis Colts @ Buffalo Bills – Dec 10, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Heading to upstate New York in early December could be a cause of early concern for the Colts, who have historically had difficulties playing in inclement weather. However, the Colts have won seven of their last nine matchups against the Buffalo Bills. Despite having a youthful and inexperienced defense, the Colts will be facing an offense that faces uncertainty at the quarterback position, with quarterback Tyrod Taylor returning at the helm.

Week 15: Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts – Dec 14 (Thursday), 8:25 p.m. ET (NBC / NFLN)

No Manning-matchup in Week 15, however the Denver Broncos appear to be one of the marquee matchups of each of the past five seasons for the Indianapolis Colts. A Thursday night home game, in mid-December, with playoff chances on the line; does it get much better? The Broncos come into Indianapolis with new head coach Vance Joseph, with much of their starting Super Bowl 50 defense still in tact. Colts fans will also get to see the team debut their Nike Color Rush uniforms in this game, debuting an all-blue uniform and pant combination.

Week 16: Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens – Dec 23 (Saturday), 4:30 p.m. ET (NFLN)

For the first time in the regular season as head coach of the Colts, Chuck Pagano will return to Baltimore to face the Ravens, where Pagano was an assistant from 2008-11 under current head coach John Harbaugh. A special Saturday matchup, the teams will square off on a Saturday, giving the Colts two long weeks back-to-back, following the short week in Week 14.

Week 17: Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts – Dec 31, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

For the seventh straight year, the Colts and Houston Texans square off in the final month of the regular season. After winning the first 13 home games against Houston, the Colts have dropped their last two, including relinquishing the AFC South to the Texans in 2016. This game is sure to have divisional implications on the line, and could be a battle to get into the NFL Playoffs.

Season Review

On paper, the Indianapolis Colts have the easiest schedule in the NFL. Combine that with a new general manager at the helm and a completely re-tooled defensive 11, and fans have a renewed sense of hope for the team’s NFL Playoff chances. The Colts’ opponents boasted just a .424 winning percentage in 2016, the worst in the NFL. And despite having just three primetime pairings this season, Colts fans have a lot to be excited about for the future of the team.

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Indianapolis Colts Season Preview: Weeks 9-12

As teams take their preparations for the 2017 NFL season behind the scenes for the months of June and July, we’re taking a look at the matchups from the upcoming 2017 season for the Indianapolis Colts. Up next: weeks 9-12.

Week 9: Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans – Nov 5, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

For the first time in the 2017 season, the Indianapolis Colts will square off agains the Houston Texans in a game of two divisional rivals set to battle for the divisional crown. The Texans, having undergone drastic changes in the 2017 offseason such as trading $72 million starting quarterback Brock Osweiler to the Cleveland Browns, drafter college football national champion quarterback Deshaun Watson out of Clemson, and losing some key defensive starters. One of those starters; new Indianapolis Colts starting linebacker John Simon. This will be the first of two matchups for these two teams, with the second coming in Week 17.

Week 10: Pittsburgh Steelers @ Indianapolis Colts – Nov 12, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

A rematch of the two teams’ showdown on Thanksgiving night in the 2016 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers will once again return to Indianapolis in Week 10. This time, however, the Colts are hoping quarterback Andrew Luck will face off against the Steelers. In 2016, Luck sat out the Thanksgiving game with a concussion, leaving quarterback Scott Tolzien to lead the offensive attack. The Steelers are returning their main offensive corps, as well as some new offensive weapons acquired through the draft, in a game that should test the legitimacy of the new Colts defensive front seven.

Week 11: Bye Week

A much needed week of rest happens to fall at (hopefully) a good time for the team, late in the season and allowing for a week to re-charge and set up for a playoff run.

Week 12: Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts – Nov. 26, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

The second of two matchups, this time at home for the Indianapolis Colts. These divisional matchups in the AFC South look to be critical to each team’s playoff hopes.

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2017 Expert NFL Mock Draft (#21-25)

Officially under one week until the 2017 NFL Draft from Philadelphia, we’re taking a look at what experts around the league predict will happen in the first round. Next up: the teams selecting #21-25 next Thursday.

#21: Detroit Lions

CBS Sports: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple | Bleacher Report: David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL) | MMQB: Teez Tabor, DB, Florida

“Lions fans may not want another first-round tight end after the mistake that was Eric Ebron, but it’s hard to look past David Njoku if he’s on the board. It’ll be especially hard for a general manager like Bob Quinn that grew up in the New England system and knows how valuable a game-changing tight end is.” – Matt Miller, Bleacher Report

#22: Miami Dolphins

CBS Sports, MMQB: Takkarist McKinley, OLB/DE, UCLA | Bleacher Report: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple |

“An exceptional athlete who is still rough around the edges, McKinley registered nine sacks last season and for a Dolphins team that ranked 31st in pass rush a year ago, McKinley fills an obvious need. Offseason surgery will keep McKinley sidelines until late summer, but he’ll be worth the wait.” – Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports

#23: New York Giants

CBS Sports, MMQB O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama | Bleacher Report: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan | 

“I get the feeling the Giants would like to draft a quarterback to eventually replace Eli Manning, but this is not the year—or rather, this is not the round. Instead, New York’s front office will decide to maximize the last of the Manning years by giving him a go-to tight end. Howard is every bit as polished and impressive as advertised.” – Emily Kaplan, MMQB

#24: Oakland Raiders

CBS Sports: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama | Bleacher Report: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington | MMQB: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple

“The Raiders ranked 25th in pass defense last season and Humphrey is considered one of the most physical cornerbacks in the draft. His father, Bobby Humphrey, was a first-round draft pick of the Broncos in 1989.” – Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports

#25: Houston Texans

CBS Sports: Cam Robinson, OL, Alabama | Bleacher Report: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame | MMQB: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

“He’s a total gunslinger with some mechanical and footwork issues to sort out. He’s also the best arm in this draft, no doubt, with some of the special playmaking and leadership qualities scouts gush about when talking about Deshaun Watson. The Texans are a quarterback away from being legit contenders.” – Emily Kaplan, MMQB

Full 2017 NFL Draft 1st-Round Mock Drafts.

For Ryan Wilson’s CBS Sports mock draft, click here.

For Matt Miller’s Bleacher Report mock draft, click here.

For Emily Kaplan’s MMQB mock draft, click here.

Tickets for the 2017 Indianapolis Colts VIP Tailgates are officially available! With a new general manager and a re-shaped roster, the Colts look to start anew after their disappointing 2016 campaign. Get your 2017 Colts VIP Tailgate tickets today

Road to Super Bowl LI: Divisional Weekend

Eight teams took the field during Wild Card Weekend last week, with only four advancing. Now, with just eight teams remaining in the NFL Playoffs, the vital Divisional Weekend is upon us, with the winners advancing to their respective conference championships. The Road to Super Bowl LI takes another step toward Houston.

Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons (Saturday, 4:35 p.m. ET on FOX)

A divisional rematch from three years ago, the red-hot Seattle Seahawks head to Atlanta to take on the #2-seed Falcons in what could be Atlanta’s final time playing in the Georgia Dome. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan rides an MVP-worthy season into Saturday’s divisional matchup, with an offense that has seen wild success in the 2016 NFL season.

Houston Texans @ New England Patriots (Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET on CBS)

The AFC South champion Houston Texans, fresh off a Wild Card victory over the Oakland Raiders, head to Foxboro on Saturday night to face up against the always-formidable New England Patriots. Houston, boasting the #1-ranked defense in the NFL, knows the challenge that lies ahead in facing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, one of the greatest postseason quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, 11:05 p.m. ET on NBC)

After beating down the Miami Dolphins in their Wild Card game, the Pittsburgh Steelers bring their bruising defense and high-flying offense to Kansas City to face the #2-seed Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs hope to be able to contain the “Three B’s” of the Steelers on Sunday, in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown. Both teams, however, have two of the hottest in the NFL this season.

Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, 4:40 p.m. ET on FOX)

Quite possibly the most anticipated matchup of the 2016 NFL Playoffs thus far, the Green Bay Packers, winners of their last six in a row, travel to Dallas to take on the dynamic Dallas Cowboys team, headlined by rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.

Despite their lack of playoff experience, the Cowboys boast one of the most efficient offenses in the league, while the Packers are riding a “run-the-table” wave of consistency. The winner of this game could very well be representing the NFC in Super Bowl LI in Houston.

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Road to Super Bowl LI: Wild Card Weekend

The 2016 NFL Playoffs are finally here! Twelve teams have punched their tickets into the postseason, but only two can make the journey to Houston for Super Bowl LI. Never count out the wild cards, as sometimes, they’re the hottest teams in the league. A preview of what’s to come this weekend during Wild Card Weekend in the NFL.

Oakland Raiders @ Houston Texans (Saturday, 4:35 p.m. ET on ESPN)

Once the trendy pick to reach Super Bowl LI for the AFC, the Oakland Raiders have gone from a potential Super Bowl contender to a struggling wild card team with just one moment: the injury of quarterback Derek Carr. Now, with backup QB Matt McGloin nursing an injured shoulder, the team looks to third-string QB Connor Cook Saturday against the Houston Texans.

Not to be outdone, Houston comes into the playoffs with a quarterbacking controversy of their own, choosing to start the $72 million man Brock Osweiler after benching him in favor of Tom Savage for two games.

Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks (Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET on NBC)

Two of the hottest teams in the NFC face off on Saturday night, with the Detroit Lions, fresh off a heartbreaking division-loss to the Packers in Week 17, facing the Seattle Seahawks, a team playing well at the right time.

While the Seahawks are no strangers to playoff contention, the Detroit Lions will not only be facing unfamiliar territory in their postseason birth, but also a difficult task in taking on the Seahawks at home in front of thousands at Century Link Field. The Road to Super Bowl LI for the NFC more than likely goes through either Dallas or Atlanta, so the Seahawks will look to take advantage of their home field advantage while they can.

Miami Dolphins @ Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, 1:05 p.m. ET on CBS)

The Miami Dolphins, sans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, will head to Pittsburgh on Sunday to face the AFC North champion Steelers. Pittsburgh rested starters Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown Le’Veon Bell in Week 17’s victory over the Cleveland Browns, giving the three-headed monster fresh legs heading into a wild card showdown.

With potential matchups against the Patriots and/or Chiefs looming, the Steelers and Dolphins look to take that first step on the Road to Super Bowl LI.

New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers (Sunday, 4:40 p.m. ET on FOX)

In what is most likely the most-anticipated matchup of the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend, the red-hot Green Bay Packers will match up against the New York Giants, in a matchup of high-flying offenses.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Giants QB Eli Manning will bring their high-powered offenses, featuring the likes of wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Odell Beckham Jr., respectively, to Lambeau Field on Sunday. With frigid temps and a chance of snow, this game has all the makings of an instant Lambeau classic.


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Indianapolis Colts Week 14: Slipping Away

Fresh off a dominant week 13 victory over the New York Jets, the Indianapolis Colts returned home to face the division rival Houston Texans, with monstrous playoff implications on the line. The week 14 Colts Update presented by Bullseye Event Group.


Offensive Struggles

Despite a second-half rally, the Colts would fall to the Houston Texans on Sunday, 22-17. But after trailing 13-3 at halftime, it was apparent early that the team’s offense was out of sync.

Quarterback Andrew Luck was responsible for three turnovers in Sunday’s game, throwing two critical interceptions and losing a fumble in a first-and-goal situation for the Colts. The fumble, a failure in protection by Colts tight end Dwayne Allen, was not on Luck. The interceptions, however, were squarely on the QB’s shoulders.

Playoff Scenarios

After losing both matchups to the Texans this season, the Colts find themselves having to rely on some magic to make the playoffs for the second-straight season. One-game behind the Texans and Titans for first place in the division, the Texans own the tiebreaker over the Colts, making the playoff hopes nothing but a bleak glimmer for the team.

Looking Forward

The Colts will travel to Minnesota next Sunday to face a Vikings team that is desperate for wins in the tight NFC North race. Now, the fate of the playoffs will be in scoreboard watching for the Colts, something fans have become all-too familiar with in recent years.

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Indianapolis Colts Week 6: Epic Collapse

The Indianapolis Colts held a 23-9 lead over the Houston Texans with a little more than seven minutes left in the game on Sunday night. And if you’re a Colts fan that decided to go to bed after Andrew Luck’s touchdown run and Adam Vinatieri’s field goals that put the team up by 14, you were in for a surprise when you woke up on Monday morning.


The Collapse

After a dominant first three quarters for the Colts, head coach Chuck Pagano and company squandered a 14-point lead with two quick drives from quarterback Brock Osweiler and the Houston Texans. Tied at 23-23 with 49 seconds and two timeouts left, the Colts had an opportunity to drive the field and position future hall of famer Adam Vinatieri for a potential game-winning field goal.

They didn’t. They went to overtime. The rest is history.

Two of the GOATs

For the first time since Vick Ballard in Week 15 of the 2012 season (ironically a loss to the Houston Texans), the Indianapolis Colts snapped a 61-game streak in which they failed to produce a 100-yard rusher.

Frank Gore finished the day with 106 yards on the ground, garnering a *small* amount of celebration before the ultimate defeat.

Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri also completed a feat of his own, connecting on three field goals to pull into second place all-time for most consecutive field goals made. Vinatieri has now hit 41 in a row, just one shy of former Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt’s record of 42 straight.

What Now?

The Colts, who now sit alone in the basement of the AFC South at 2-4, will travel to Tennessee to face a Titans team that has won two in a row, and looked somewhat impressive in doing so. The Colts must win the game in order to not only breathe some life into the fan base, but also to resuscitate their divisional and playoff hopes.

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NFL Division Preview: AFC South

As we continue on the road to Super Bowl 51, football fans have hit that offseason lull. Once organized team activities begin, there isn’t much news to be had, on or off the field. That’s why Bullseye will preview one division a week, leading up to the 2016 NFL regular season.

First up: the AFC South



The AFC South, previously one of the weakest divisions in the NFL, is on pace to be quite an interesting contest in 2016. We take a look at why this might be one of the toughest divisions in the league.

Last Year (2015): Houston Texans (9-7), Indianapolis Colts (8-8), Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11), Tennessee Titans (3-13)

Although the Indianapolis Colts have generally been the perennial favorites in the AFC South, the road to Super Bowl 51 in Houston looks much tougher in 2016.

Following a carousel of quarterbacks following Andrew Luck’s tumultuous 2015 campaign, the Indianapolis Colts will regain the QB at full strength, boasting a newly revamped offensive line, a young and talented receiving corps, and a defense that showed glimmers of hope in 2016. All complimented by a completely renovated coaching staff beneath head coach Chuck Pagano.

The Houston Texans, the 2015 victors of the division, might have finally found their franchise quarterback after spending nearly 15 years searching in Brock Osweiler. The Texans didn’t stop there, however. Houston landed running back Lamar Miller to replace the oft-injured and now-released Arian Foster, and drafted receiver Will Fuller out of Notre Dame and playmaker Braxton Miller out of Ohio State.

The Jacksonville Jaguars also bolstered their defense in the offseason. Head coach Gus Bradley, who was arguably one of the most improved coaches in the NFL last season, will head into the season with a very different defense. Rookies Jalen Ramsey (CB), Myles Jack (LB), and Sheldon Day (DT) add to a defense that already saw the addition of veterans like cornerback Prince Amukamara, among others.

And the Tennessee Titans, with the worst record in the 2015 regular season, also got much better, adding several key veterans such as pro-bowl running back Demarco Murray, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.

Prediction? The Colts return to form and begin a new streak of AFC South dominance, so long as Luck stays healthy.

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