Yeah okay, the division with the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars is the best in football. Good luck with that. The Colts have dominated this division since it was established in 2002, winning 9 times, with the Texans next in line winning it 3 times. The teams combined to go 25-39 last year, Houston winning with a 9-7 record and losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Kansas City Chiefs. However, they all went out and through the draft and free agency made some moves that now has this division in a crapshoot for who will win it in the 2016-2017 season.
Let’s start with the bottom and work our way up, the Titans. Although they had a rough year with newcomer Marcus Mariota, he put up some good stats. They gave up the number #1 overall pick for future picks, believing that they did not need a franchise QB and that they can work with the Oregon product. They went safe in the first round drafting Jack Conklin, a tackle from Michigan State but took some risks later going with Kevin Dodd, a linebacker from Clemson and Derrick Henry, the stud running back from Alabama who was a steal at pick #45. Not to mention, they acquired Demarco Murray to take his contract off of the Eagles hands. With another year under Mariota’s belt, a solid RB tandem and an improved offensive line, 7 wins shouldn’t be out of the question.
Next up, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the winners of the 2016 NFL draft. Jalen Ramsey, stud cornerback from Florida State, Myles Jack, the biggest risk/reward pick in the draft and Yannick Ngakoue from Maryland will help majorly rebuild their defense. Blake Bortles is one of the most underrated QBs in the league and RB TJ Yeldon should get better with another year of experience. Allen Robinson also put up good numbers. This team could compete for it’s first division title…ever
The Indianapolis Colts played very safe in their draft picks, going with center Ryan Kelly in round 1 and picking mainly defensive players after that. According to Kelly, he “has the tools to start week 1” with an offensive line that had trouble protecting Andrew Luck. Speaking of Luck, he is still waiting for that big time contract extension but owner Jim Irsay expects a deal to get done. Although having a stud at QB and an improved offensive line, their lack of depth at the playmaker positions (RB, WR) won’t have them running away with this division.
Houston miraculously made the playoffs with TJ Yates, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallet at QB last season. The era of Brock Osweiler begins with a totally revamped offense. With running back Lamar Miller and first round pick being used on rookie wideout Will Fuller from Notre Dame, if you include DeAndre Hopkins, you got a solid offense. Of course, JJ Watt will be JJ Watt and dominate per usual.
Not only will this division be the most improved, but it will be the most competitive from top to bottom. Most divisions have one team that they know won’t win the division (see, Browns, Raiders, Buccaneers), but all of these teams have a shot.