The AFC South has become one to watch out for with the emergence of Jacksonville, the upside of the Texans and Titans and with Andrew Luck back, the Colts should be in prime position to compete as well. I have a feeling that this will be the most competitive division in the AFC, with potentially two teams making the post season.
The Texans found something when they selected Deshaun Watson out of Clemson in the draft a year ago. The rookie was a spark for the Texans’ offense and if Watson had not tore his ACL, Houston may have made the playoffs. Almost fully recovered from the surgery, Watson is looking to build on a terrific start he had. Also coming back is J.J. Watt. When healthy, Watt is arguably the best player in the NFL. If he can stay healthy and regain his form, the Texans would boast a high powered offense and a defense that could take over games.
Notable Additions: FS Tyrann Mathieu
Notable Losses: LB Brian Cushing
Jacksonville slowly built one of the best defenses in the NFL and it all starts with Cornerback Jalen Ramsey. I don’t think we’ve seen this much swagger and confidence from a corner since Deion Sanders. Ramsey has been very vocal this off season when he critiqued many of the Quarterbacks in the NFL. After having the Patriots on the ropes for a half, they were very close to making the Superbowl. If they are to take that next step, Blake Bortles will have to step up his game.
Notable Additions: TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, CB D.J. Hayden, WR Donte Moncrief
Notable Losses: WR Allen Hurns, TE Mercedes Lewis, WR Allen Robinson
The Titans offense was described as “Exotic smash mouth football” last season. With two bruisers in Derrick Henry and Demarco Murray behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, the Titans wanted to control the tempo and abuse opponents. This season, the offense should look a bit different after bringing new Offensive Coordinator, Matt LaFleur. LaFluer worked with Jared Goff last season and the results were phenomenal in his second season as the Rams starting QB. With Mariota already a player with a ton of upside as a passer, will the Titan’s Quarterback elevate himself to elite status and have a breakout year? I’m thinking yes!
Notable Additions: S Kenny Vaccaro, CB Malcolm Butler, RB Dion Lewis
Notable Losses: WR Eric Decker, SS Da’Norris Searcy
It’s been a while since Andrew Luck has played and I am glad to see him back healthy! He has suffered his fair share of injuries but he looks fine albeit a little rusty. The Colts just were not the same team without him and T.Y. Hilton would agree with that statement. Hilton and Luck had great chemistry and Hilton just could not replicate that with the replacements. Now back, the biggest question is will the offensive line hold for up for Luck? They will be key for his health, obviously.
Notable Additions: TE Eric Ebron, DE Denico Autry
Notable Losses: RB Frank Gore, WR Donte Moncrief, CB Vontae Davis