The NFL is often noted as having the most parity of any professional sports league. However, this season has been defined by it so far. No team remains undefeated, and it's not even late enough in October to be shopping for a Halloween costume. In particular, the AFC South seems like the model for this new found parity. After five weeks, every team sits "tied" for first place with a 3-2 record.
So, how did we find ourselves in this statistical anomaly?
It seems each team has had a major case of Jekyl and Hyde so far this year. The Jaguars are averaging 30 points per game in their 3 wins, yet just 8 points in their losses. The Texans have put up 30 or more points in each of their 3 wins, yet haven't scored more than 13 in their two losses. The Colts defense has surrendered over 30 points in their two losses. It seems even Peyton Manning can't help the Colts on an off day.
With the Colts faltering and at 0-2 in the division, the AFC South has never been riper for the taking. Yet what team in the division screams "Championship Caliber" at this point? Every team has some major fundamental flaw that will have to be righted. If the Texans can get out of their own way, I would say they have the best chance.Then again, I have flashes of the "Halfback Pass" and realize they're inevitably doomed.
Vince Young looked like a world beater vs Dallas, but the phrase "Regress to Mean" exists for cases like him. The Colts have a world beater in Peyton Manning, but can he continue to carry that team to another 12 win season?
However, the main reason is that it seems none of these teams can play defense worth a salt. Even in the Texans three wins, they have allowed a minimum of 24 points. The Colts traditional weakness against the run is getting exploited like never before. It seems teams have figured out running up the gut keeps Peyton off the field and Mathis/Freeney from getting to the QB. The Jaguars have gotten light up in the passing game every week. Yesterday's performance vs Buffalo was easily their best, and the unit still gave up 220 yards through the air. Even the Titans, the traditional standard bearers on defense, haven't been playing up to par.