Welcome to what appears to be the most competitive division in the NFL. Here are five things to look for in the AFC South in 2018.
No more than just two or three years ago, the AFC South was one of the most putrid divisions in football. All four teams were anywhere from average to bad, and it felt somewhat like a travesty that the NFL had no choice but to send one of them to the playoffs. In 2015 and 2016, the Houston Texans carried the torch for the division at just a measly 9-7.
The 2017 season had potential to have a significant improvement in quality for the AFC South, though a barrage of injuries kept a handful of teams from reaching their potential. In 2018, though, all four teams hope to stay healthy for the full year, and if they do, all four teams – the Texans, the Indianapolis Colts, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Tennessee Titans – should be right in the thick of the division race.
Here are five things to look for in the AFC South, possibly the NFL’s most competitive division in 2018…
5. There is no overwhelming favorite in the AFC South
When you have four teams in a division that all have a chance to finish above .500, it’s hard to make a prediction for which team will come out on top. Welcome to the AFC South.
Here’s why the division could be there for the taking for each team:
The Jaguars have arguably the best defense in the league, and that defense helped them reach the AFC Championship Game last season.
The Colts should finally have quarterback Andrew Luck for an entire season, who at this point in his career, should be considered a top three quarterback in the league (and probably would be if injuries, due in large part to an ineffective O-line, hadn’t kept him down the last two seasons). He alone can keep them in the hunt.
The Texans should have quarterback Deshaun Watson and defensive end J.J. Watt (arguably the best defensive player in the NFL) back and ready to go, and with the two of them healthy, Houston has a chance to make a serious playoff run.
Lastly, the Titans underwent a coaching staff overhaul that they hope will help them improve on last year’s 9-7 regular season campaign, which resulted in a wild card berth and a playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Get ready for an AFC South free-for-all this year.