1. Houston Texans
The competitive window could be closing faster than the Texans think, but protecting Deshaun Watson must be a priority.
2. Tennessee Titans
If Marcus Mariota is healthy and productive, they could be on top of this tough division.
3. Indianapolis Colts
Losing Andrew Luck to retirement will sting, but this season shouldn’t be a lost cause with Jacoby Brissett who was solid as the starter just two seasons ago.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
A lot has to go right, but if there’s a repeat of last season there will be a lot of changes.
Head Coach: Bill O’Brien
Key Position: Offensive Line
They have finally addressed this area and albeit at the last minute of training camp by acquiring Laremy Tunsil from the Miami Dolphins. They also drafted two lineman who will get plenty of opportunities to play. Hopefully with this position being improved upon, QB Deshaun Watson will have an even more productive season with adequate protection.
Key Acquisitions: LB Barkevious Mingo (Seattle Seahawks), OT Laremy Tunsil (Miami Dolphins), DB Tashaun Gipson (Jacksonville Jaguars), RB Carlos Hyde (Kansas City Chiefs), RB Duke Johnson (Cleveland Browns), OT Matt Kalil (Carolina Panthers), CB Bradley Roby (Denver Broncos), WR Kenny Stills (Miami Dolphins)
Key Rookies: OL Tytus Howard, OL Max Scharping
Head Coach: Mike Vrabel
Key Position: Quarterback
This is a pivotal season for Marcus Mariota. The defense is solid for the Titans. The rushing attack now has a workhorse in Derrick Henry. TE Delanie Walker is healthy and Adam Humphries is the new safety net in the slot. There’s no reason Mariota can’t be productive unless injuries or a breakdown on the offensive line compounds things.
Key Acquisitions: WR Adam Humphries (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), OL Rodger Saffold (LA Rams), QB Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins), DE/LB Cameron Wake (Miami Dolphins)
Key Rookies: DL Jeffery Simmons, WR A.J. Brown
Head Coach: Frank Reich
Key Position: Quarterback
It’s a punch to the gut whenever your franchise quarterback retires. Andrew Luck’s announcement just before the final preseason game was a stunner, but the Colts are thankful to have a competent backup in Jacoby Brissett. This isn’t his first rodeo as he was the starter in 2017. He threw for 3,098 yards and 13 touchdown passes in 15 starts. The Colts in 2019 are better than the 2017 version.
Key Acquisitions: WR Devin Funchess (Carolina Panthers), DE Justin Houston (Kansas City Chiefs)
Key Rookies: CB Rock Ya-Sin, LB Ben Banogu, WR Parris Campbell, LB Bobby Okereke
Head Coach: Doug Marrone
Key Position: Running Back
They were exposed last season when Leonard Fournette wasn’t on the field. There were no adequate passing options and former first round pick Blake Bortles wasn’t given a vote of confidence in the offseason. If Fournette can repeat his rookie season or do better, then the Jaguars will be playoff contenders with Nick Foles as their quarterback.
Key Acquisitions: RB Alfred Blue (Houston Texans), WR Chris Conley (Kansas City Chiefs), QB Nick Foles (Philadelphia Eagles), TE Geoff Swaim (Dallas Cowboys), LB Jake Ryan (Green Bay Packers)
Key Rookies: DE Josh Allen, T Jawaan Taylor, LB Quincy Williams