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Jacksonville Jaguars have ferocious bite while Houston Texans boast potential in AFC South preview

Breaking down the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans heading into the new season.

Jay Asser 2018/09/05

After years of being the weakest division in football, the AFC South has slowly morphed into one of the more competitive areas in the league.

All four teams have a chance to reach the playoffs – a notion that would have been laughable as recent as three years ago.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, as one-sided as they are, are legitimate threats to get back to the AFC Championship Game, while the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts have their star quarterbacks back and healthy.

A regime change in Tennessee could give the Titans the jolt they need to find their stride.

Learn more about the four teams with our AFC South team guides.

HOUSTON TEXANS

Head coach: Bill O’Brien

Star player: J.J. Watt

Last season: 4-12

Key ins: Tyrann Mathieu (Arizona), Aaron Colvin (Jacksonville), Zach Fulton (Kansas City), Senio Kelemete (New Orleans), Kayvon Webster (LA Rams), Justin Reid (rookie), Martinas Rankin (rookie), Jordan Akins (rookie)

Key outs: Brian Cushing (free agent), Xavier Su’a-Filo (free agent)

Strengths: If Watt can return to something of his old self, their front seven will wreak chaos.

Weaknesses: Allowed the second-most sacks in the league last year (54) and offensive line hasn’t improved much.

Verdict: Deshaun Watson, when he’s upright, makes them an intriguing playoff contender.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Head coach: Frank Reich

Star player: Andrew Luck

Last season: 13-3

Key ins: Luck (injury), Ryan Kelly (injury) Eric Ebron (Detroit), Matt Slauson (LA Chargers), Ryan Grant (Washington), Najee Goode (Philadelphia), Quenton Nelson (rookie), Braden Smith (rookie), Jordan Wilkins (rookie)

Key outs: Jon Bostic (Pittsburgh), Frank Gore (Miami), Johnathan Hankins (free agent), Donte Moncrief (Jacksonville), Darius Butler (free agent), Rashaan Melvin (Oakland)

Strengths: Interior of offensive line.

Weaknesses: Defence gave up the third-most points in the league last year (25.3).

Verdict: Don’t have enough around Luck to make much noise.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Head coach: Doug Marrone

Star player: Jalen Ramsey

Last season: 10-6, lost in AFC Championship

Key ins: Andrew Norwell (Carolina), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (NY Jets), Donte Moncrief (Indianapolis), D.J. Hayden (Detroit), Taven Bryan (rookie), D.J. Chark (rookie)

Key outs: Marqise Lee (injury), Patrick Omameh (NY Giants), Aaron Colvin (Houston), Allen Hurns (Dallas), Chris Ivory (Buffalo), Marcedes Lewis (Green Bay), Allen Robinson (Chicago)

Strengths: Defence is rife with talent, particularly the secondary

Weaknesses: Pass-catchers are maybe the worst in the league.

Verdict: Defence can carry, but unless Blake Bortles takes a step, their ceiling is capped by his limitations.

TENNESSEE TITANS

Head coach: Mike Vrabel

Star player: Jurrell Casey

Last season: 9-7, lost in Divisional Round

Key ins: Malcolm Butler (New England), Dion Lewis (New England), Bennie Logan (Kansas City), Kenny Vaccaro (New Orleans), Will Compton (Washington), Rashaan Evans (rookie), Harold Landry (rookie)

Key outs: Johnathan Cyprien (injury), DeMarco Murray (retired), Avery Williamson (NY Jets), Da’Norris Searcy (Carolina), Erik Walden (Seattle)

Strengths: Run defence is stout as they surrendered fourth-fewest yards on the ground last year (88.8).

Weaknesses: Unproven wideouts.

Verdict: Changes across the coaching staff should help get more out of their collection of talent.

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Andrew Luck Blake Bortles Deshaun Watson Houston Texans Indianapolis Colts jacksonville jaguars Jalen Ramsey Marcus Mariota Mike Vrabel Tennessee Titans