Are Colts On the Cusp of QB Rivalry in the AFC South?
Recently, NFL Network Analyst David Carr proclaimed that Eli Manning (New York Giants) vs. Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys) is the best quarterback rivalry in the NFL right now. I would have a hard time arguing against that, as that matchup seems to bring out the best in both players. But might the AFC South have its own version of that rivalry coming soon?
The rivalry has not gotten off to as good of a start as it could have so far due to Luck’s 2015 season being derailed by injuries, but there is plenty that goes into this potentially becoming a must-see rivalry going forward.
First, both players are still young; Luck going into his fifth season at 26 years old, and Bortles into his third at 24. The Colts have owned the AFC South division since its inception, winning it nine of its 14 years, but the Jaguars are a very popular pick to make noise in the league immediately. They have built a very impressive roster on paper over the past few years. Now, they just have to translate it to wins.
Next, both players have the ability to take over games and can light up the scoreboard. In 2014, Luck led the league in touchdowns with 43. He also had 5,034 total yards. Bortles wasn’t far behind with his best season so far, last year with 37 touchdowns and 4,738 total yards.
Another big factor are the Colts and Jaguars fan bases. Both are incredibly passionate (and defensive) about their team, specifically their quarterbacks. The passion behind each side in head-to-head matchups puts a lot of attention on both.
So far, Luck and Bortles have battled twice, the first time being Bortles’ first game action of his career. Luck is 2-0, with his touchdown-to-turnover ratio being 5:2 compared to Bortles’ 2:3.
The division does have another couple of talented signal-callers in Brock Osweiler (Houston Texans) and Marcus Mariota (Tennessee Titans), but they are both too new to the division and don’t have enough invested in yet. But in a couple years, the entire division could be in a rivalry if everyone steps up.
If Luck and Bortles can stay healthy, get their teams wins and perform well in head-to-head matchups, then this will become one of the league’s premier quarterback rivalries in no time.
Jake Arthur is the AFC South Newsdesk Manager, Assistant Director of NFL Content and a Featured Analyst for Pro Football Spot. He is also a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @JakeArthurPFS on Twitter as well as on Facebook,Google+ and FanCred.
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