Just for fun, I decided to look over the division and breakdown how I feel each team ranks by position. I then made a ranking system that awards each team for their placing. Each position has a maximum of 12 points to be distributed throughout the division based on their qualities and rankings. Points are indicated in parenthesis next to each team, with no more than 6 points being given at one time. One thing to note: there are 4 offensive categories, 3 defensive and 1 special teams. This made the organization process easier, AND I feel it's actually pretty representative of how important the ratios of each side of the ball is to wins.
1. Indy(6): Until Peyton Manning shows he's not the best. He is. No depth at this spot to speak of.
2. Houston(4): Shaub remains number 2, but for how long? Could he slide up to #1? Will he drop to number 3?
3. Jacksonville(1): Garrard is number 3, but we obviously have the best depth, and in my opinion, the best future. In another division this could be more of a 3, but Manning and Shaub are so superior to the rest of the division that they eat up ten points.
4. Tennessee(1): Hasselbeck is number 4, and closer to decline than Garrard. Locker appears to be getting it together in training Camp.
1. Jacksonville(4): Jacksonville wins this over Ten and CJ for two reasons. Depth and Greg Jones. With leach off to the Ravens, we have the best full back in the division. If Tenessee had held on to Blount instead of ringer...they would have won this by a landslide.
2. Tennessee(3.5): CJ is better at the things he does than Jones-Drew. Hall is a good FB. Other than that, there's not much to speak of. In another division,
3. Houston(3.5): Could have been number 2, or even number one, if Leach was still around. It's hard to see Foster duplicating what he did last year without him.
4. Indy(1): Do I even need to explain this one?
*Note: in another division the top 3 teams could all be worth 6 points.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends.
1. Houston(4.5): Depth can't overcome Andre Johnson. It's much easier to find more depth than another guy like Johnson, and he is the best in the league.
3. Jacksonville(2.5): Plenty of depth and Mercedes Lewis. Still looking for number 1, but possibly more weapons than anyone else in the division as far as pass catchers go.
4. Tennessee(1): Like Jacksonville plenty of guys who are talented but have yet to prove themselves (Williams, Cook). Their best guy can't stay out of trouble. The two proven guys are very overrated in my opinion. Not as many weapons as Jacksonville, either.
1. Tennessee(5): Dominance despite a hole. Interior could still use work, but the same can be said for the rest of the division.
2. Jacksonville(3): Only here because of Mercedes Lewis' play on the line. Without the Vinny of late last year, and with Britten and Monroe still looking to prove themselves (as far as I'm concerned) as bookends, they should PROBABLY be number 3.
3. Houston(3): Really don't know enough to rate them higher. I assume they can't be worse than the Colts.
4. Indy(1): This year's OLine could have players revolving like our Safeties last year.
1. Indy(4.5): Not much passed the 2 pass rushers that are up there with the best in the league. They're getting old, though.
2. Jacksonville(4): I expect most people to disagree with this, but we have 3 fantastic starters and the fourth looks to be solid at worst. Seemingly plenty of depth.
3. Tennessee(2): With Babin and Brown gone, 16 of their 40 sacks last year has also left (say whatever you want about Babin, he was a force last year). Morgan is coming back from a serious injury, but without the experience Kampman has to recover and be prepared for a new season (Morgan did hold out last year, thus he has no real offseason experience). Ford and Ball were said to be on the roster Bubble coming into training camp; why? I have no idea, but I did read it.
4. Houston(1.5): Of their three starting spots, they have no nose tackle, their best tackle was cut (for not being a true NT), and they have a rookie who has a lot of catching up to do as a 3-4 end. Watt's play could move them up this list rather quickly.
1. Jaguars(4.5): Smith, Poz, Session. 'Nuff said.
2. Texans(3): Mario is expected to be featured. Though it is doubted, a player with his reputation should be expected to be good even if there is plenty of reasons to think he won't be. Cushing, without the juice, shouldn't be underestimated, either. Brooks Reed is in the perfect position to develop strongly. The Texans' new secondary could make these guys rack up coverage sacks, even if they are underwhelming in pure pass rushing.
3. Colts(2.5): Bracket, Angerer and ?? Depth also = ?
4. Titans(2): Rudd signed a single year 4m contract after nearly 2 weeks on the market. There must be a reason for this, and he looks to be their best backer. McGrath and Shaw can be solid, and look good at times, but don't compare to the guys in the rest of the division. I'm keeping an eye on Ayers, who I'm high on, but again doesn't yet compare to the rest of the division.
*Note, I wouldn't argue spots 2-4 being arranged in any order; 2 of the 3 of them can be based largely on what the rookies will do.
1. Tennessee(4): CB depth! Finnegan, McCourtney, Verner, Mouton. Griffen is the David Garrard of safeties as far as consistency goes, but played solid last year, and Hope is old, but possibly still as good as everyone else's number 2 safety in the division.
2. Colts(3): Lacey, Powers, Bethea, Bullet and plenty of Jars on the shelf. This group may not have the stats to indicate how good they are, or perhaps the DE Duo makes them look better than they really are. I side with the former.
3. Jaguars(2.5): Mathis and Cox have only three cornerbacks (Joseph, McCourtney, Finnegan) in the division better then them, no matter how much some think Mathis is downhill or Cox is overrated. Safeties better than Landry in the division: Bethea. An argument can be made for Griffen. We could also have the best nickel in the division, who happens to have a lot of recent postseason success. Whether or not these guys actually play well is left to be seen.
4. Texans(2.5): Joseph...Wow! And then? Kareem Jackson hasn't impressed me, Glover Quinn is making a transition to FS (which may or may not work), and Manning has the one good year label. The development of Keo and Harris could be interesting.
1. Jaguars(5): Owens, Lewis, Scobee, Turk and a handful of guys that can return the ball.
2. Titans(4): Bironas and Mariani.
3. Colts(2): At least the have Vinny still.
4. Texans(1): One of many Achilles heels for many years.
Jacksonville: 1 + 4 + 2.5 + 3 + 4 + 4.5 + 2.5 + 5 = 26.5
Indy: 6 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 4.5 + 2.5 + 3 + 2 = 24
Houston: 4 + 3.5 + 4.5 + 3 + 1.5 + 3 + 2.5 + 1 = 23
Tennessee: 1 + 3.5 + 1 + 5 + 2 + 2 + 4 + 4 = 22.5
Jacksonville: 3 (1sts), 2 (2nds), 3 (3rds), (4ths)
Indy: 2 (1sts), 2 (2nds), 2 (3rds), 2 (4ths)
Houston: 1 (1sts), 2 (2nds), 2 (3rds), 4 (4ths)
Tennessee: 2 (1sts), 2 (2nds), 1 (3rds), 3 (4ths)
-Jacksonville is the only team with no 4s
-Jacksonville also has the most 1s
-Much of the Texans' rankings/scores has the potential to increase, quickly.
-Much of the Colt's rankings/scores has the potential to drop, quickly.
-Tennessee has gotten worse from last year to this year.
-Jacksonville is the favorite by my calculations (which ultimately mean nothing because football isn't Madden).