Watch for the Indianapolis Colts to repeat as AFC South champions with ease, based on their unanimous selection by The Sports Xchange football staff.

After that, there was little agreement as a close vote left the rest of the division trailing the Colts in this order -- Tennessee, Houston and Jacksonville.

Here is an in-depth, unit-by-unit look the AFC South as analyzed by reporters from The Sports Xchange who cover each team (using roster information as of Sept. 1):



QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Andrew Luck. Backup -- Matt Hasselbeck.

Luck returns for his third year as the Colts starting quarterback. He led Indianapolis to 11 wins and a spot in the playoffs in each of his first two years in the league. The former No. 1 overall draft pick continues to refine his game but his learning process continues. Luck will be in his second season in an offense directed by coordinator Pep Hamilton. Hasselbeck is back for his second year with the Colts as Luck's primary backup. A former starter in Seattle and Tennessee, he gives Indianapolis a solid insurance policy.

RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- Trent Richardson. Backups -- Ahmad Bradshaw, FB Mario Harvey, Daniel Herron, Zurlon Tipton.

Much is expected of Richardson as the Colts' starting running back. He joined the team early last season and was given the offensive playbook piece meal. Now he's had a full off-season to figure out his teammates and the offensive system.

Bradshaw returns from neck surgery that forced him to miss most of last season. He is expected to share the bulk of the running chores with Richardson. Herron was a pleasant surprise in training camp and the pre-season. He could prove important if Bradshaw is unable to fully return from his injury issues. Harvey, who converted to his new position from defensive line, is the lone fullback on the Colts' regular-season roster.

TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Dwayne Allen. Backups -- Jack Doyle, Coby Fleener.

Allen missed most of the 2013 season after undergoing hip surgery. He looked bigger and stronger this preseason. Allen should be a vital cog in the Colts offense because of his size, speed and ability to catch the football in a crowd.

Fleener began to blossom last year as he filled in during Allen's absence. The combination of both players should give Indianapolis a different look on offense this season. Doyle, an Indianapolis native, is a good run and pass blocker who will surprise as a pass receiver in short-yardage situations.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne. Backups -- Donte Moncrief, Hakeem Nicks, Da'Rick Rogers, Griff Whalen.

The Colts are blessed with a deep receiving corps in 2014, thanks in large measure to the return of Wayne from knee surgery and the continued development of Moncrief. The off-season addition of Nicks from the Giants should only fortify the group and give Luck yet another weapon to use. Hilton has become one of the best young receivers in the NFL over the last two seasons. Whalen has proven to be a dependable fifth receiver. Rogers has all the talent needed to be a productive NFL receiver but just needs to develop more consistency.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Anthony Castonzo, LG Jack Mewhort, C Khaled Holmes, RG Hugh Thornton, RT Gosder Cherilis. Backups -- C Jonotthan Harrison, G Lance Louis, T Xavier Nixon, G/T Joe Reitz, C A.Q. Shipley.

The interior offensive line continues to be a major question mark for Indianapolis heading into the regular season. Mewhort is a rookie, Holmes is a first-year starter who is nursing a high left ankle sprain and Thornton is a new starter. Castonzo and Cherilus need to be the steadying influences for the Colts' young offensive linemen. Harrison, an undrafted rookie, saw plenty of work during the preseason as did Louis. Nixon and Reitz are both nursing injuries. Shipley was a late roster addition who may end up starting at Denver in the season opener. He was with the Colts during the 2012 season.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- DE Cory Redding, NT Josh Chapman, DT Arthur Jones. Backups -- DT Ricky Jean Francois, DT Montori Hughes, NT Zach Kerr.

Indianapolis returns Redding in a starter's role. Chapman split time at nose tackle a year but is now ready to be the team's full-time starter. And Jones was an off-season free agent acquisition from Baltimore who has proved so far to be as good as advertised. He can line up as a tackle, end or at nose tackle. Francois, a starter last year, will be Jones' primary backup. Hughes can play tackle or nose tackle. Kerr, an undrafted free agent rookie, impressed during training camp ad the preseason.

LINEBACKERS: Starters -- SLB Erik Walden, Mike D'Qwell Jackson, Will Jerrell Freeman, Rush Bjoern Werner. Backups -- OLB Cam Johnson, ILB Josh McNary, ILB Henoc Muamba, OLB Jonathan Newsome, OLB Andy Studebaker, OLB Robert Mathis (suspended).

With Mathis sitting out the first four games of the regular season because of an NFL suspension, Werner will start at rush linebacker. Johnson, a pickup from San Francisco early last season, will be his top backup. Jackson comes over from Cleveland to earn a starting job at the Colts' Mike linebacker. Freeman has led Indianapolis in tackles his first two years with the team. Newsome has been impressive at times as a rookie during the preseason. Muamba, a former CFL standout, is an active linebacking prospect. McNary missed most of the preseason schedule as he nursed a shoulder injury but can play both inside and outside linebacker.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Greg Toler, SS Mike Adams, FS LaRon Landry, RCB Vontae Davis. Backups -- S Colt Anderson, S Sergio Brown, CB Darius Butler, CB Josh Gordy, CB Loucheiz Purifoy.

Adams, a former starter with Cleveland and Denver, moves in at one safety position with Antoine Bethea now with the 49ers and Delano Howell in injured reserve with a neck issues. Landry returns as a starter but saw limited work in training camp due to a lower body injury. Toler and Davis can be, if they can stay healthy, a potent one-two punch at cornerback. Anderson is the top reserve at one safety spot. Brown can handle both safety jobs. Butler and Gordy are valuable as nickel backs. Purifoy, an undrafted free agent, piqued the interest of the Colts coaching staff during training camp.

SPECIAL TEAMS: P Pat McAfee, K Adam Vinatieri, LS Matt Overton, KOR Daniel Herron, PR Griff Whalen, KOR Donte Moncrief, PR Loucheiz Purifoy.

Indianapolis returns McAfee and Vinatieri to handle the team's kicking duties. McAfee is the Colts' punter, kickoff specialist and placement holder. Vinatieri may be one of the oldest players in the NFL, but he has shown no signs of slowing down. Overton is back for his third year as the team's long snapper. Herron is expected to be the top kickoff return prospect, although Moncrief could also get some work there. Whalen and Purifoy could end up splitting the punt return duties.