by Chris Meinecke
The AFC South is similar to the French film industry. The Indianapolis Colts are that French film that comes along once every twenty years that resonates with people that couldn’t care less about the genre. They stick in your craw. You want to watch it over and over. They never get dull. Even with this Soul Asylum style of “Runaway Train” that the Colts have become, every year it seems that there is some reason to want to love a team in this division that won’t lead it. The success of the Texans in recent memory (save for last year), made this possible.
Light the ignition on 2014 and there are some story lines in the American South. I’m not talking about Ferguson, MO, or teenagers breaking into Ray Allen’s Miami home looking for bling and Pitbull mix tapes. It’s easy to say that Indy will run away with the crown once again, but will it be such an easy path this time around? Let’s face it, nearly the entire AFC basically sucked-out-loud last year and there seems to be the same sentiment floating around as we inch closer to this year’s kick-off. The Colts took this division by four games in ’13 finishing 11-5, and Andrew Luck and the boys aren’t looking to stroll off the mountain any time soon. With all of the excitement that surrounded the Titans and their young, talent laden team, the injury and discontentment bugs still tally-whacked them to a 7-9 record. Honestly, that’s not bad for the AFC. I picture Brad Pitt in “Money Ball” saying “There are rich teams and there are poor teams. Then there’s fifty feet of crap, and then there’s us.” when I think about the AFC as a whole, and the South is it’s red-headed stepchild, which is ironically fitting for something “southern”.
Justin Blackmon will redeem himself during a season long suspension wherein he saves his 6 year old niece from taking a swig of his Red Berry Ciroc by jumping off a bar stool and busting his eye open on the corner of a shag covered bar.
The rest of the story lines go something like this: Chad Henne’s play will be unremarkable, but not terrible. The Jags will lose 4 of their first 5 games (look out Washington!) and everyone will begin to jump on the Blake Bortles bandwagon until a spring breaks and the fucker is tilted. Jake Locker will enjoy a solid running game behind Bishop Sankey, and a fan base fueled by Jack Daniels – until he gets hurt again of course. The Texans’ windbags will sporadically complain about Jadeveon Clowney’s work ethic, but the unit overall will be better with him.
What probably won’t happen: Hakeem Nicks will have an all-pro year and catch 100+ balls thanks to a change in scenery and a huge upgrade in signal caller. The Colts will sling the ball, but it’ll be more like a fine Nutella spread than a torpedo-like hardboiled egg eating contest. Ryan Fitzpatrick will lead Houston to a Wild Card win over the Chiefs (hahahahahaha sorry). The WR corps in Tennessee will become the latest version of “The 3 Amigo’s”, and Justin Blackmon will redeem himself during a season long suspension wherein he saves his 6 year old niece from taking a swig of his Red Berry Ciroc by jumping off a bar stool and busting his eye open on the corner of a shag covered bar. What? That’s been done? HASN’T been done? That’s confusing man.
Your best option if you’re a fan, stadium worker, video assistant, tour guide, coach, etc. of an AFC South team is to remember that the games will go on. Sure, you’ll lose a game in JAX, with the Jags having to go to London on November 9th, but clearly you guys barely show up as it is. Tickets will be bought and sold. Diehard’s will buy another shirt. Denard Robinson will carry the ball 21 times for 59 yards. Mediocrity and outright putrid failure is okay, it’s the NFL, and even the AFC South gets to participate.