In 2017 the AFC South sent two teams to the playoffs in the Jaguars and Titans. Meanwhile, the Texans and Colts finished the season 4-12 while dealing with injuries to key players, including Colts safety Malik Hooker who will be coming back from a season-ending injury.
“I’m definitely the guy that I feel like we’re capable of winning now,” Hooker said, according to Colts.com's Andrew Walker. “You know, we’ve got a lot of great players, a lot of good players coming back as well. So I feel like this year, we’ve got a young, fast and good, physical team, so I feel like we’re definitely capable of winning now.”
The #Colts aren’t looking at 2018 as just some opportunity to lay the foundation for future success.— Andrew Walker (@AWalkerColts) July 8, 2018
And if the team happens to have a quick turnaround, safety Malik Hooker is sure to play a major role:https://t.co/TSwsBaAQNI pic.twitter.com/57gSFBQ2wd
Obviously, much of the Colts success in 2018 will be predicated on the health of Andrew Luck, who missed 2017 in it's entirety despite pre-season reports saying he would be ready for the regular season. Malik however is not ready to play the excuses card. “I feel like we can’t really pay attention to stuff like that — who’s out there and who’s not,” Hooker said. “I feel like we’ve got enough good backups for us to still be able to go out there and play at a high level. So I definitely feel like, like I said, whether I come back healthy or not or whoever else, I still feel like we’re capable of winning a lot of ballgames this year.”
Malik expressed his excitement to get the Colts young group of talented DB's on the field together and healthy this year, “I definitely feel like we’re a group that can take that next (step),” Hooker said. “Like I said, you figure we were missing Clayton Geathers — a lot of us were dealing with injuries last year week in and week out, and I feel like this is just a fresh start for us. The offseason’s time for you to get your body ready for the season, and I feel like we’re doing a great job of that right now. So I definitely feel like we can take the next step in being a great secondary this year.”
via bovada.com: the Colts are listed as the underdogs to win the AFC South this season, with the Jaguars being slight favorites over the Houston Texans.
Odds as of June 6 at Bovada