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M21 AFC South Preview

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Old 08-08-2020, 10:47 AM   #1
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M21 AFC South Preview

This week we take a look at the AFC South which may be one of the most interesting division makeups we have. We have a complete unknown in PuleosPowers taking over the Colts as well as Khodiferous getting his first shot at having a team from the jump as he takes the reigns of the Jaguars. On the other side of the coin is BigK in Tennessee making his return to the league after a year off and Seran, who has been in the upper tier of the league for a few years now heading to Houston.

Team Ratings**Per Madden School, pre-release**
Colts-82 OVR (T-7th)
Jaguars-78 OVR (T-26th)
Texans-80 OVR (T-18th)
Titans-80 OVR (T-18th)

Indianapolis Colts Owner-Puleos Power

Key Players-
LG Quenton Nelson (94 OVR)
Nelson is a special talent and his nasty streak just sets the tone for this offensive unit. This offensive line has 4 80+ talents which lead the 4th ranked pass and run blocking units.

LB Darius Leonard (85 OVR) I feel Leonard is a little underrated after another solid season in his sophomore campaign in which he led all LB’s in INT’s with 5. He is still only 25 but has established himself as one of the leagues best defenders. Leonard will be a cycle long anchor for this defensive unit.

Building Blocks
The HB’s
It will be very interesting to see what the Colts do with their loaded backfield. Marlon Mack (85, 24 years old), Nyheim Hines (75, 23 years old) and rookie Jonathan Taylor (73, 21 years old) are all very skilled backs and could be capable of carrying the load. Will one of these guys be traded? Will we see a running back by committee?

FS Julian Blackmon (69 OVR) This rookie has all the tools with 90 SPD, 89 ACC and 89 AGI along with 67 man and 70 zone out of the box. He is also only 21 which will allow Blackmon to develop into a key piece of the Colt’s secondary.

Outlook
Puleos comes in as the one player this cycle who has yet to play a game in an AWFL file which makes him a huge question mark. He could be a ringer and be the next Warren or it could take him a few games to adjust to the sliders. No one will know until the season kicks off but he has a solid team with some decisions to make at the QB position. This division is deep in talent amongst all 4 teams and should be very interesting this cycle.

Houston Texans Owner-Seran
Key Players
QB Deshaun Watson (86 OVR)
Watson is the unquestioned leader of this offense now and although there is no Nuk on the team, there are still weapons for DW4. The teams top 5 WR’s all boast 90+ SPD and they have two of the best pass catching backs in the league in Duke (81) and David (77) Johnson.

LE JJ Watt (98 OVR) Still one of the most dominant forces in the league when healthy, Watt checks in as the only Texan over 90 ovr. Even with the big (literally) loss of DJ Reader in the middle, this defensive unit still ranks as the 5th best run stopping unit in Madden.

Building Blocks
DT Ross Blacklock (73 OVR)
The Texans need Blacklock to hit if only because he will be the highest draft pick they make between 2020 and 2021 (barring a trade). This team has a serious lack of draft capital again this year so development of the younger guys will be very important in their cycle trajectory.

WR Keke Coutee (73 OVR) Coutee has shown flashes through his first 2 seasons but has yet to put it all together. The good news is he is still only 23 and has some impressive WR’s in front of him like Brandin Cooks (85) and Will Fuller (82) that he can hopefully learn from and continue to improve.

Outlook
Seran has seen some big success the past few cycles but this will undoubtedly be his biggest test to date. The Texans have some pieces and I expect to see them in the playoffs S1 but his GM skills will be tested with no 1st or 2nd in the critical 1st draft and some trying cap situations coming due, including what will likely be a mega contract for Watson.

Jacksonville Jaguars Owner-Kohdiferous
Key Players
DE Yannick Ngakoue (83 OVR)
Kohdiferous will have an early decision to make on what to do with Ngakoue as he is playing on the franchise tag and will likely want big money. This is an emerging young defense and he is a key cog in that so will he be part of the teams long term plans?

WR DJ Chark (81 OVR) After a breakout season last year, Chark will have big expectations as the #1 guy for the Jags. This is a fun WR group with Dede Westbrook (79) and Keelan Cole (75) behind him but their success will depend on the development and success of QB Gardner Minshew (70)

Building Blocks
DE Josh Allen (81 OVR)
This team has no shortage of exciting young defenders but last years 1st rounder may be at the top of that list. He is only 23 and has all the tools to be the next elite pass rusher in the league.

CB CJ Henderson (76 OVR) One of the big rating surprises, Henderson looks to be the second best rookie defender behind only Washington’s Chase Young. 93 SPD, 92 ACC and 92 AGI along with an impressive initial MCV rating of 77 means he will be a lockdown CB by S3.

Outlook
The Jaguars give Kohdiferous a very nice canvas to work from. They have nice young pieces on both sides of the ball, extra draft capital and ample cap space. However, they will still need to solve the QB problem and hope that their young talent continues to progress. With the lowest rated team in the division, I think S1 and S2 may be tough sailing but dividends may begin to be paid in S3 and beyond.

Tennessee Titans Owner-BigK
Key Players
HB Derrick Henry (93 OVR)
The King had a breakout season last year and it led to Tennessee committing to him with a large contract. BigK is a guy who relies on a steady run game so I expect Henry to be a big part of his game plan each week and to punish defenses into submission.
FS Kevin Byard (91 OVR) Byard leads the undoubted strength of this team, the secondary, who rank 7th in zone and 12th in man coverage league wide. Teaming up with Byard is S Kenny Vaccaro (79) and corners Adoree Jackson (83), Jonathan Joseph (81) and Malcolm Butler (77).

Building Blocks
CB Adoree Jackson (83 OVR)
This defense has quite a few nice young pieces like pass rusher Harold Landry (82), DE Justin Simmons (79) and MLB Rashaan Evans (79) but Jackson is the premiere young guy of the group. He is still only 24 years old so he will continue to get better over the early part of the cycle and with Byard will be cycle long pieces for the Titans secondary.
WR A.J Brown (81 OVR) Brown had a huge rookie year, finishing 3rd in voting for offensive rookie of the year despite being the 51st selection of the draft. A lot of Brown’s success this season will be contingent on if Ryan Tannehill (80) can repeat his success from last year. He got a big contract so BigK will need him to play up to that despite his rating.

Outlook
This team is very well suited to BigK’s playstyle so I think he could go along ways with them but so much is going to come down to what he gets out of Tannehill. With this team handing out big contracts to both a QB and HB this offseason, he will be somewhat limited on his team building options at least early on but I expect BigK to have this team in the playoffs sooner rather than later.

Best New Rivalry-Seran vs BigK
Seran has ascended to a top tier user but 2 cycles ago there was always one guy he was hoping wouldn’t appear on his playoff schedule and that is BigK. Seeing these two battle out twice a year will be extremely fun and I think their respective playstyles really make for entertaining battles.

[b]Best out of division game-Week 1 Titans (BigK) @ Broncos (Automatik)b]
BigK will be thrown immediately to the deep end upon his return while Auto gets one of the tougher games on his schedule right off the bat. Whoever wins this game will be setting the tone for their season against a very good opponent.
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