Contending Against the AFC South


Aug 17, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) on the sidelines during the game against the Miami Dolphins at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve already taken a look at the NFC East, now let’s dive in with the AFC South. Below is the scheduling formula to refresh your memory (also because it didn’t show on the last post.

Under the Formula every team plays 16 games as follows:

  • Home and away against its three division opponents.
  • The four teams from another division within its conference on a retating three-year cycle
  • The four teams from a division in the other conference on a rotating four-year cycle
  • Two intraconference games based on the prior year’s standings (2 games). In the Chargers case, since we took second in our division we will play two second place teams in the same conference division the team is not scheduled to play.

This year in our three year rotation in the AFC will go to the South Division (bullet point #2 above). This should be an interesting string of games against the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars. It will be a division against a lot of familiar faces and connections, let’s see what we will be up against when regular season takes flight.

The AFC South is home to the newest franchise in the NFL, the Houston Texans. It’s been a long time coming since 2002, but the Texans are looking to be a very formidable team, a very strong, fierce defense, a strong armed quarterback and an elite wide receiver, Andre Johnson and running back, Arian Foster. Foster will also be coming back home to where he grew up as a child in San Diego. It would be foolish to assume the Houston Texans wouldn’t be a challenge come opening night at Qualcomm Stadium. We’ll also be seeing a very familiar face in Wade Phillips, former defensive coordinator during Marty’s era. Since then Wade has turned Houston into a sack happy defensive machine. The Chargers offensive line will have to deal with J.J. Watt, but we might have gotten a break with Antonio Smith being suspended for one game. The keys to the game will depend on our defense creating an equal disruptive force to Matt Schaub and the Houston offense.

Next up will be the Tennessee Titans on September 22nd. The Titans have been grooming a young quarterback in Jake Locker, but this season they took off the training wheel with Matt Hasslebeck no longer in Tennessee. Hasselbeck has been a safety net and a mentor to Locker, but it’s now time to grow up! Unfortunately for Locker there isn’t much arsenal around him to get the job done. Last time these two teams met, the Chargers managed to hold Chris Johnson to only 17 yards rushing and a less than two yards per carry average. The only disadvantage the Chargers have is that they will be traveling east and playing a 10am local time game.

Our second Monday night game of the season, October 14th will be up against the Indianapolis Colts, it will be brother against brother as Chuck and John will be watching from across sidelines. It isn’t going to be as exciting as the Superbowl Ravens versus 49ers game, but it’ll be nice to see what these two dish out. This isn’t the only familiarity we have against the Colts, Tom Telesco had a hand in re-molding this team into what it is today and who can forget Dwight Freeney and what he’s done for this franchise. Freeney will have the biggest chip on his shoulder to prove to the Colts what a mistake it was for them to not make an offer. Andrew Luck turned this team around and took them to a wild-card playoff, but will the Chargers be hungry to make the same turn around?

Last but not least, only six days later on October 20th, we’ll meet the Jacksonville Jaguars. The only true test will come against the rush attack from Maurice Jones-Drew, aside from that the Jags don’t possess a true starting quarterback. Derek Cox should feel at home in his former environment and should be making plays just as he once did for his former team. The Jags did themselves a favor by selecting Luke Joekel in the draft, pairing him with Eugene Monroe should give our pass rush a good test.

One of our toughest opponents will be right out of the game against the Texans, but this division should be less of a challenge than the NFC East. Let’s hope the Chargers can record at the minimum three wins against the South!