And now, for the division that wound up so wacky, I actually had to go back and double check a few picks, just to confirm I didn’t accidentally type a W into the column when it should have been a L, your AFC South …
(Please click picture below for full Excel schedule breakdown):
* Final Order of Finish:
1. Tennessee Titans
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
3. Houston Texans
4. Indianapolis Colts
* First Read: Tennessee winning didn’t surprise me. I’ve been leaning Titans to win this division since Houston stupidly cut Eric Winston, traded DeMeco Ryans, and let Mario Williams walk. You can’t lose that much talent and not take a hit. But the Jaguars in second? And even more incredibly …
* Biggest Game: Jaguars at Titans, week 17. Winner takes all. If the Jags win, they finish 9-7 and win the division via a sweep of the Titans. If the Titans win, they win the division via best overall record. Insane.
* Seems wacky: uum, just about everything? The Jaguars controlled their own destiny in week 17! How did that happen? The Texans are mathematically out of it by Thanksgiving? The Colts actually won a couple games, including one over Tennessee that set up the winner take all week seventeen scenario that every NBC executive, up to and including our “good buddy”, Ol’ Pete King himself, is praying has no shot of occurring, because seriously, who WOULDN’T want to watch Jaguars at Titans as the final game of the season? (Stevo raising his hand).
* Division (Home) Uniform Rankings:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
2. Indianapolis Colts
3. Tennessee Titans
4. Houston Texans
Reason: other than three teams in the remaining division, there is no home uniform in regular use that I love more than the Jaguars. Love it, totally dig it. Now, ranking Houston last is a bit cruel, because their battle blue or liberty red unis, are awesome. The problem is they also have the rally white, and sorry, but when you have THREE regular uniforms in the rotation for a home game, and one of them is white? You’re not winning in my poll.
* Division MVP: Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars. Call me a dreamer, say I’m a little naïve, but I believe in this guy. Mike Mularkey is the perfect coach for him – hell, Mularkey made Matt Ryan a stud, he salvaged Drew Bledsoe’s career, the guy can flat out coach offense. (He’s in over his head as the head coach, but the Jaguars will figure that out soon enough.
* Song from Mixology 2012 to Describe Each Team:
Tennessee Titans: “Sideways” by Dierks Bentley. Just as in the NFC, the AFC South is beyond a little sideways.
Jacksonville Jaguars: “5-1-5-0” by Dierks Bentley. I’m definitely a little loco to project they’re in a “winner take all” week seventeen showdown.
Houston Texans: “Flake” by Jack Johnson. Look at it this way Texans fans – if disappointing by going 7-9 convinced Bob McNair to clean house, fire incompetent GM Rick Smith, fire incompetent head coach Gary Kubiak, and bring in people with a clue? It’s worth the step back, the “flake” season.
Indianapolis Colts: “Fresh” by Kool and the Gang. If you’re gonna rebuild, do it right – tear the damned thing down to its foundation and rebuild from scratch. It’s a lesson Carl Peterson didn’t learn until it was too late here in Kansas City.
* Bottom Line: the AFC’s top wildcard (and here’s a hint: they’re both coming from the AFC West) is going to be salivating over getting to open in Nashville, instead of Houston or a fellow AFC West team’s home joint.
* Final Prediction: that Jaguars / Titans clash in week seventeen will be appearing on your local NBC affiliate.