Posted by SB Nation's Jason Garrison.
The AFC South is not dominated by the Indianapolis Colts as usual in 2011 because of the absence of Peyton Manning. Without Manning, the Colts have shown that they are one of the two worst teams in the league. The slack was supposed to be picked up by the Houston Texans or the Tennessee Titans, but each team has had injury problems and trouble throughout the season, especially the Titans, who can't seem to get Chris Johnson moving.
Here is how the AFC South breaks down after the first eight games of the 2011 season.
1. Houston Texans (5-3)
2. Tennessee Titans (4-3)
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6)
4. Indianapolis Colts (0-8)
Thanks to the running of Arian Foster, the Texans are poised to be the winners of the AFC South. Even though Andre Johnson has been injured through the last couple weeks, the Texans have been able to get the job done, especially within the division in which they're 3-0.
The Titans, surprisingly, have the worst rushing offense in the NFL despite having Chris Johnson in the backfield. Johnson has been terrible but the Titans have still managed to have a winning record at the half-way point of the 2011 season thanks largely to the play from veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
The Jaguars have had trouble, especially at the quarterback position. After cutting David Garrard just days before the season opener, the keys to the offense were handed to Luke McCown. However, after poor performances by McCown, the Jaguars decided to hand the reins to rookie Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert has played like a rookie and it's going to take some time for the Jaguars to start winning consistently.
Not having Peyton Manning has shown how many holes this team has and they have a lot. They're bad defensively and they're even worst on offense. Quarterback Curtis Painter has shown some flashes early in the season but not enough to lead the team to a win.
The Texans are Titans are the only two teams that have a legit shot at winning the division. It will come to these two teams' head-to-head record and how they play against the rest of the division. If Chris Johnson doesn't get thing going, though, expect Arian Foster and the Texans to win the division.
Both the Jaguars and Colts are pretty much done with the season. They don't have a chance to make the playoffs and they'll have to help rebuild their teams in the draft before next season.
Predicted Division Winner: It'll be the Texans that will win the division, especially if Andre Johnson comes back to the team soon and helps boost the team's pass offense. The Titans have a shot but in order to really get to the post season, I think Chris Johnson's going to need to come out of his hibernation and run the ball like he has over the past couple years.