Trent Dilfer, Mel Kiper, Gary Horton and Matt Williamson have teamed up for this Insider file that analyzes the core of each team to forecast NFL Power Rankings for 2015.
Factored in are five categories: roster, quarterback, draft, front office and coaching. The methodology to it all is explained here.
Let's take a look at where the AFC South ranks and share a snippet of the reasoning.
No. 9 -- Houston Texans
Dilfer on quarterback (6.5 out of 10 average by the panel) -- “Matt Schaub is a perfect fit in the Houston scheme; no player throws a better deep ball in the play-action game. Playoff success will allow him to take the next step in terms of his league profile. T.J. Yates proved he's a good insurance policy, but he also proved that the Houston coaches have a system that they feel is transferrable. If they can run it effectively, QBs will succeed here.”
No. 23 -- Tennessee Titans
Williamson on front office (5.75) -- “I like how this team is being built and Locker now looks to be in an excellent position to succeed going forward. Tennessee's front office probably doesn't get the credit it has deserved of late.”
No. 27 -- Indianapolis Colts
Williamson on coaching (4.75) -- “Everything is new in Indianapolis. There looks to be a strong blend of offensive and defensive coaching, but it's anyone's guess how they will all blend together, especially with a roster that still needs a ton of work. There will be serious growing pains as the Colts institute new schemes on both sides of the ball under new head coach Chuck Pagano.”
No. 30 -- Jacksonville Jaguars
Kiper on draft (4.5) -- “Occasionally confounding, the Jags did it again this year, picking punter Bryan Anger in the third round. They've actually nailed some defensive picks, but if Gabbert doesn't improve immensely, the overall grade is pretty poor. Common trend: You can pick well, but you're defined by whether you get a franchise QB.”
It’s awfully hard to project so far out and these rankings for AFC South teams seem to be pretty close to what they would be now.
I imagine fans of three of these teams will have a lot to say about why they are wrong. Feel free to use the space below to vent.