1. Indianapolis Colts (13-3 in 2007)
They are famous for drafting well and developing from within, they had no first round pick this year and took a guard from the Pac-10 in the 2nd. They re-signed Dominic Rhodes. Basically, they did nothing but lose Rob Morris and Rocky Boiman. Marvin become a gangster at age 35. The secondary is brutal (especially if Bob Sanders has injury problems) and if Freeney can't stay healthy, the may give up points in bunches. Of course they have the "other" Manning, he's still pretty good.
As if the Colts’ offense isn’t already potent enough, they can be even better if Marvin Harrison returns to form after missing nine games last year and if Anthony Gonzalez makes the expected improvement from his rookie campaign to his sophomore season. Getting Dominic Rhodes back is gravy because you can expect Addai to be great. Indy once again has a good chance of playing in late January and beyond. Look for them to go 5-1 in the South. I also see them losing @Minny, @Pitt, New England, @ SD, and maybe @Clev.
Key Additions: Mike Pollak (draft), RB Dominic Rhodes (Oak), LB Phillip Wheeler (draft)
Key Losses: G Jake Scott (Ten), TE Ben Utecht (Cin)
Predicted Finish: 11-5
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (11-5 in 2007)
Contrary to popular opinion the Jags DO NOT have a great D. People run their mouths and have no idea what they are talking about. Teams ran all over them last year to the tune of 4.1 ypc, and 4 of their games were against the Colts and Texans, not exactly running juggernauts. Now Stroud has left for Buffalo. I loved Drayton Florence in San Diego, but playing corner on that D may have made him appear better than he is.
Garrard played well, you have to be impressed by the 18/3 ratio. However his receivers are dog shit, so he never threw the ball more than 20 yards. The ratio is nice but Garrard is gunna hafta throw more than 18 this year for the Jags to be relevant. Fred Taylor is getting old but that other guy with all the names is pretty damn good. Big problems at WR in my opinion. Porter and Williamson were their big pick-ups and they both have as many 1000-yard seasons as I do! Also Matt Jones' cocaine thing is a problem. Overall though, even if the new guys don't work out this is a good ball club.
Key Additions: CB Drayton Florence (SD), DE Quentin Groves (draft), DE Derrick Harvey (draft), DT Jimmy Kennedy (Chi), WR Jerry Porter (Oak), DC Gregg Williams (Was), WR Troy Williamson (Min)
Key Losses: CB Terry Cousin (Cle), CB Aaron Glenn (NO), S Sammy Knight (NYG), DE Bobby McCray (NO), G Chris Naeole (released), DT Marcus Stroud (Buf)
Predicted Finish: 10-6 with a wildcard appearance
3. Houston Texans (8-8 in 2007)
Are they the Tampa Bay Rays of football in 2008? Perennial doormats to division winners? No. But they will continue to improve and the d-line is sick. They have very good receivers and and when Schaub is upright he can deliver. The o-line has improved from the days they used to let Carr get pounded. The defensive backfield is the worst this side of Indy. Slow and lacking play makers, they do not get enough turnovers to win tight games. I think if the O-Line can get it's act together, Andre Johnson plays the entire year healthy, and Slaton comes up big in the running game they will be able to contend for the wildcard for most of the season.
Key Additions: T Duane Brown (draft), C Chris Myers (Den), CB Jacques Reeves (Dal), RB Steve Slaton (draft)
Key Losses: C Mike Flanagan (released), CB Von Hutchins (Atl), C Steve McKinney (Mia)
Predicted Finish: 9-7
4. Tennesse Titans (10-6 in 2007)
Vince Young is not good. But he wins. I get that. I like that. But in the NFL one trick ponies get figured out and then beaten. Fisher is very good coach, but the lack of talent will catch up with him this year. The D-line is very good, we all know that, but that's it. The rest of the league will dink and dunk them to death. All you need to do is score 17 and you have a good shot at beating them (unless Bironas' bionic leg can kick 6 field goals a game!). The secondary is pretty good, but is an injury or two away from being exposed. The new kid Chris Johnson is supposed to be a big play maker on a team that lacks them. We shall see. The schedule is tough, and I just don't see them having a good year.
Key Additions: TE Alge Crumpler (Atl), OC Mike Heimerdinger (Den), RB Chris Johnson (draft), DE Jevon Kearse (Phi), WR Justin McCareins (NYJ), G Jake Scott (Ind)
Key Losses: G Jacob Bell (StL), CB Adam Jones (Dal), DE Travis LaBoy (Ari), DE Antwan Odom (Cin), G Benji Olson (retired)
Predicted Finish: 7-9