- Houston Texans– At one point last season, I wrote them off. It was after a game in Miami and they were blown out. That was the turning point of their season because after that, they won five games in a row and would go on to win the AFC South, a division that was basically gift wrapped to the Indianapolis Colts during the off-season. Then came the playoffs and they were flat out embarrassed in the Wild Card round. I like the moves the Texans made this off-season. They first addressed their quarterback issues and signed Brock Osweiler to a four-year/$72 million deal, released Arian Foster and signed Lamar Miller. The defense will be carried by J.J. Watt once again who won the defensive player of the year for the third time in four seasons and the second year in a row. The Texans appeared to improve on offense but that’s on paper and we need to see the actual unit on the field.
- Indianapolis Colts– I was one of the many people that were high on the Colts coming into the year and how could you not be? They were a game away from the Super Bowl the year before, Andrew Luck had been elevating into the star we knew he’d become and they added Frank Gore and Andre Johnson. The season was everything but good last year for the Colts. The offensive line struggled to protect Luck, the running game was absent and the defense was soft. They haven’t done much to get better as a team. Luck will be 100% healthy but I don’t see the Colts as contenders in the AFC. Robert Mathis, who is their best defensive player, is 35 and they don’t have a true identity on the defensive side of the football. Not even a healthy Andrew Luck will cover the areas of concern on the roster. The Colts should feel very fortunate to play in a division that has the room to get better as the years go along.
- Jacksonville Jaguars– There is quite a few teams I’m looking forward to seeing in 2016 and the Jacksonville Jaguars are one of them. They were extremely aggressive during the off-season when free agency opened up. They signed Malik Jackson to a five-year deal and added Chris Ivory to bring the offense the some balance. In the draft this past April, they drafted Jalen Ramsey and let’s not forget first round draft pick Dante Fowler Jr will also be making his return to the field after tearing his ACL during rookie camp. I’m ready to see how Blake Bortles will build off his 2015 season where we saw him really elevate his play. Allen Robinson also burst onto the scene as his go to receiver down the field. For the first time in a while, the Jaguars have high expectations somewhat.
- Tennessee Titans– It definitely wasn’t a year to remember last year for the Tennessee Titans. Marcus Mariota experienced the ups and downs of life in the NFL and the Titans won only three games in 2015. Both the Texans and Jaguars made some moves to bolster their roster in the division and the Titans made one of their own when they acquired DeMarco Murray from the Philadelphia Eagles in March. He had a terrible year in Philly and getting traded was the best thing for him and I think he can get back to somewhat of the same form we saw in 2014 that won him the offensive player of the year award. They are still a work in progress if they want to get back to its winning ways.
- Colts (10-6)
- Texans (9-7)
- Jaguars (7-9)
- Titans (4-12)
The Colts will bounce back and win the AFC South. I was so tempted to pick the Texans to win the division but I need to see what Brock Osweiler can bring to the table before I can say they run this division. With a healthy Andrew Luck back under center, he will lead the Colts offense and they will score points along with having a motivated Andrew Luck who will look to bounce back after playing through injuries and sitting out the rest of the season.