Jacksonville was the real surprise last year, but the Jags are by no means shoo-ins to defend their AFC South title.
Much will depend on the health of two quarterbacks returning from injury, Andrew Luck of Indianapolis and Houston’s Deshaun Watson.
1 Jacksonville Jaguars 10-6 (Lost AFC title game)
2 Tennessee Titans 9-7
3 Indianapolis Colts 4-12
4 Houston Texans 4-12
Ranking The Coaches
1 Doug Marrone, JAX: Has done a superb job, especially building a ferocious defense.
2 Bill O’Brien, HOU: Had his first losing season in 2017, but expectations will be high with a healthy Deshaun Watson.
3 (tie) Frank Reich, IND: Helped mould Carson Wentz at Philly, health of Andrew Luck will be huge this year.
3 (tie) Mike Vrabel, TEN: Although he’s never been a head coach before, Vrabel is very well respected around the league.
Ranking The QBs
1 Andrew Luck, IND*: Asterisk because he’s coming off an injury. When healthy, he’s the class of the division.
2 Blake Bortles, JAX: Putting all jokes aside, he nearly got them to the Super Bowl.
3 Marcus Mariota, TEN: Coming into his own, and new coaching staff might be the boost he needs.
4 Deshuan Watson, HOU: Too small a sample size to evaluate fairly – was on the way to a superb season until he got injured last year.
Ranking The Fans
1 Indianapolis: Passionate, small-town feel, but honestly hard to rank this division – not exactly full of football-crazed fanbases.
2 Houston: It’s Texas, so you know a football crowd is going to get involved.
3 Tennessee: Still not convinced Nashville is a big-time NFL city yet.
4 Jacksonville: There’s a reason why a team in the NFL’s smallest market is always being talked about as a potential candidate to move somewhere.
Odds and Opinions
–Jacksonville ($2.75 to win the division)
Smacken The Trader Says
“The Texans look a little short given you’re hoping that Deshaun can return to his scintillating rookie form. Similar to this, the Colts price is halfway between Luck not playing and assuming he can put up his 2014 numbers again.”
“I love the Jags D but I’m not confident putting my money behind Bortles over 16 games @ $2.75. We have only took a handful of bets on the Titans to win the division even after their postseason trip last year.”
“I’ll be sitting this one out and inevitably watch the eventual 9-7 division winner bow out early in the postseason.”
“So much depends on Luck and Watson…if they’re both healthy and play most of the season, this could be a super-competitive division.”
“The Jags won’t sneak up on anybody this season, but I still think they’re good enough to win the division. Can they make some noise in the playoffs again? The defense is tremendous but the offense is the real question mark.”
NFL Division Markets here – odds subject to change.