AFC South Flipped

Entering the 2008 season, Jacksonville and Indianapolis were expected by many to be the real contenders for the AFC South title. The Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans were considered good teams, but as far as real Super Bowl contenders, they were afterthoughts. Just a few weeks into the regular season, the Titans are undefeated and everyone else in the division is treading water.

"Tennessee's playing outstanding right now, and hats off to them for getting off to a fast start," said Jaguars running back Fred Taylor. "They're doing the things they need to do."

Nobody believes that the Indianapolis Colts are done, but Indy doesn't look like the powerhouse that has won the division five consecutive seasons, and things don't appear to be getting much better without Bob Sanders.

"This division, I would say the Colts have dominated it," Taylor admitted. "They've won the division the past (five) years or something like that."

Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio weighed in prior to Sunday's game—

"I think clearly Indy has had a stranglehold on this division and there are other teams interested in chasing them down. It's early in the season and a lot of football ahead of us."

Taylor not only has respect for the five-time defending AFC South champion Colts and the Tennessee Titans, who whipped the Jaguars on opening day, but also the Houston Texans who the Jaguars host on Sunday.

"They're a team that you have to bring your A-game for or they're going to slap you in the mouth, Taylor said. "They get down and dirty. They're physical, they play well. They'll show some teams this year. Hopefully it's not us. They're going to play hard this year. All of us, we're going to be at the top, I really think so."

The Texans have slapped Taylor and the Jaguars in the mouth repeatedly, as Jacksonville is the only team in the division that they have a winning record against, at 7-5.

Despite the slow start by the Jags, Colts, and Texans, the Jaguars Pro Bowl running back believes that he plays in the best division in football.

"Our division, I think, is the best in football regardless of what people say about the NFC East," Taylor said. "I don't think the NFC East can match up against AFC South teams when you put things on the line. Tennessee, they're doing what they have to do, and it's creating some balance. Houston had a very good year last year. I won't call it great unless you win the (Super) Bowl. Our division, I would argue and say it's the best in football. I don't care what anybody else says. I'll take it any day of the week."

Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio didn't make any proclamations about his division being the best in football, but he did give his opinion.

"There really are four good football teams in this division. Regardless of how it ends up shaking out, I think when you look at it, if you go into the game with one of these four teams you're going to feel it and it's going to be a hard-fought battle."

Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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