Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/8/12

Football is back ladies and gentlemen! Check out some of the top headlines in the AFC South this week. 

1.  Maurice Jones-Drew Returns From Holdout

Maurice Jones-Drew led the league last year.

Pocket Hercules, as he is sometimes called, carried a bulk of the load in Jacksonville last year.

Jones-Drew gained 47.7 percent of Jacksonville’s total yards last year. Jacksonville did not pay Jones-Drew last year.

Who knows what exactly they wanted to prove, but that is a different story. The important part is that Jones-Drew is back, and ready to move forward. It is unclear just how much the Jaguars’ stud back will play on Sunday. Expect to see a majority of carries given to the more-than-capable backup, Rashad Jennings.

Jennings carried the ball 47 times for 209 yards in the preseason.That’s a 4.4 yard per carry average. If you do not put stock in preseason stats, consider that Jennings averaged 5.2 yards per carry his rookie year, and 5.5 yards per carry his second year.

2. CJ2k Is Back!

The Tennessee Titans are set to open the regular season at home against the New England Patriots Sunday afternoon. The Titans added explosive wide receiver Kendall Wright in the 2012 Draft, and tight end Jared Cook looked strong in preseason action. These young guns will draw attention from one of the league's most prolific rushers, Chris Johnson.

Johnson held out (all too similar to Jones-Drew this year) prior to the start of last season. The holdout negatively impacted his regular season performance. There was no hold out this year, and Johnson is ready to step back into the elite tier of running backs.

Week 1 is especially promising for the Johnson, considering the Patriots’ feature a defense that was downright awful last year. (Allowed 411 yards per game).  

3. Andrew Luck and Jake Locker Make First NFL Starts  

Andrew Luck and Jake Locker will always have the date of their first NFL start in common. While both Luck and Locker look toward the future with relatively young, growing teams, they will have entirely different perceptions.

Andrew Luck is filling the shoes of a four-time NFL MVP.

Jake Locker has just managed to wrestle the starting job away from veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

The match-ups in Week 1 favor Locker. He will be facing a very soft New England secondary whereas Andrew Luck will be squaring off with a ferocious Bears’ defense. While neither quarterback is being heavily favored going into Week 1, they each have potential to put up solid numbers.

Locker will have a slight advantage this week, but by the time these two square off in week 8, the playing field will have leveled out.  

4. Arian Foster Game-Time Decision

Arian Foster left practice on Thursday, and did not practice at all on Friday. He is officially listed as questionable on the injury report. Foster reportedly suffered from pain around his knee, but was quick to shoot down any idea that his knee injury is bothering him.

From the Houston Chronicle: "I expect to play," Foster said. “And it's not my knee. It's the area around my knee that's sore. I'm not worried about my knee."”

Foster’s absence would have an obvious impact on the match-up between Houston and Miami. The Dolphins’ defense is probably better than you think. They allowed an impressive 95.6 rushing yards per game last season. The latter half of the season brought a gradually improving Dolphin team that might surprise some teams this year.

Especially teams that have to limit the carries of their vegan, super-star running backs.  

5. Austin Collie Day-To-Day

Austin Collie suffered a concussion in the second week of preseason play against the Pittsburgh Steelers. This was his third concussion since the 2010 NFL season.

Collie is now listed as questionable, not on his own account, but because team doctors have yet to clear him. If he is cleared before game time on Sunday, he says he is ready to go.

If nothing else, Collie’s perseverance through a concussion-riveted career has shown heart, mental toughness, and a deep love for the game. Any old star-crossed lover will tell you though, not every love story has a happy ending.

Austin, please, stop being so hard-headed and step out of the line of fire before it’s too late.



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