Athlon Sports is going division by division, asking and (trying to) answering the biggest question for every team in the league entering the 2015 season.
Houston: Can Bill O’Brien find stability under center?
This team jumped from two wins in 2013 to nine a year ago with three different players taking snaps under center. Imagine how good the Texans could be with some stability under center? Ryan Mallet was one of those starters and appears to have the perfect skill set for what O’Brien wants from his quarterback. But, he is recovering from a torn pectoral muscle. Brian Hoyer is more mobile, has more experience and is more familiar with O'Brien since both were in New England together. This team is built to succeed quickly on defense and has plenty of talent around the signal-caller but to reach the postseason, O’Brien must get consistent play from his quarterback. Look for a healthy Mallett to win the job because of his big arm and down-the-field ability.
Indianapolis: Can the Colts stop the run in January?
The Colts have dominated their division and are loaded on offense for a Super Bowl run. But that run likely goes through New England, a team that has scored 47.3 points per game in the last four meetings against the Colts. Enter Trent Cole, Nate Irving, Kendall Langford and three rookie front seven prospects to help the Colts stop the run. The Patriots rushed for 177 yards and 234 yards in two playoff wins over Indy and improving this part of the team is imperative if the Colts want to go further than the AFC title game. Look for the new 3-4 scheme to show improvement and help this team go further in the postseason.
Jacksonville: Are the issues along the line fixed?
Both the offensive and defensive lines in Jacksonville have undergone complete overhauls in the last two seasons. The offense allowed a league-worst 71 sacks, scored a league-low 15.6 points per game and couldn’t run the ball whatsoever. The Jags also finished 27th in the NFL in rushing defense and allowed the fourth-worst QB rating (99.1) to opposing signal-callers. This unit did create pressure but needs to show marked improvement across the board. New offensive line coach Doug Marrone should fix a young but very talented unit, while losing first-round pick Dante Fowler (torn ACL) was a crushing blow to the reworked D-line. Either way, both units should be better in 2015 and that could be the first sign of growth under Gus Bradley.
Tennessee: Will the Titans' O-line play up to potential?
There are simply too many questions with this team to answer them all in one paragraph. But the crux of the offensive issues start up front. This team must protect first-round investment Marcus Mariota and must run the football better. This group has two first-round picks in Taylor Lewan and Chance Warmack and another in Andy Levitre, who is paid like a top draft pick. Who plays center and right tackle is still up in the air and should this group play up to its potential, Tennessee should be dramatically more entertaining and competitive right away. If not, Mariota could be flat on his back most of ’15.