AFC South: 2012 NFL Preview

Our Colts' pick: Fourth place

August, 30, 2012
8/30/12
3:17
PM ET
Four of the five panelists at ESPN.com pick the rebuilding Colts to finish in fourth place in the AFC South.

"Andrew Luck should throw for between 3,500 and 4,000 yards if he stays healthy. Facing five first- or second-year starting quarterbacks gives Luck the chance to have a winning record at home," says John Clayton.

The defense rates as exotic, I write in our Intelligence Report: "In the Tampa 2 put in place by Tony Dungy and run for years by the Colts, there weren't a lot of moving parts. Small, fast defenders could chase anything down, and blitzes out of the 4-3 were rare. New coach Chuck Pagano has brought a hybrid 3-4 scheme that creates much more mystery about who's rushing and who's dropping. There will be bigger linemen and more man coverage on the secondary. Critics of the old scheme might have called it bland and predictable. Some of the current Colts defenders are branding this one exotic."

Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. likes the linebackers and not the offensive line.

For the full preview, please head here. (Be sure to read Horton's fine print section on the right after you watch the preview video above it.)

Our Texans' pick: First place

August, 30, 2012
8/30/12
1:42
PM ET
Our picks are in, and it's no surprise ESPN.com likes the Houston Texans to win the AFC South.

"Only a team as talented as Houston could lose Mario Williams and actually be better the following season," says Adam Schefter.

Johnathan Joseph is primed to be even better, I write in our Intelligence Report: "The cornerback is just what the Texans hoped for when they brought him in as a free agent last year. Now, in his second year, he's far more comfortable with what the team does defensively and with his environment. He's mentoring the other starter, Kareem Jackson, and helping make young receivers better more quickly. Joseph will continue to track the other team's best receiver, and that challenge will be giant considering some of the talented wideouts the Texans will encounter this year."

Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. still has questions about the offensive line.

For the full fill, please head here. (Be sure to read Horton's fine print section on the right, right after you watch the preview video above it.)

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