5) Predicted order of finish?
BL: 1. Jaguars 2. Texans 3. Titans 4. Colts
The wild card is the Titans, who fired head coach Mike Mularkey, even after he got his team into the playoffs and won a game in the postseason, despite a disappointing season from QB Marcus Mariota. The Jaguars can count on their defense to get them back into the postseason, but if the Texans stay healthy, they could challenge them. The Colts are also-rans with or without Andrew Luck.
EE: 1. Texans 2. Jaguars 3. Titans 4. Colts
If you told me today that Luck would be fully healthy, would I even consider flip-flopping the last two? No, I don’t think I would. Am I nuts for putting the Texans ahead of the Jaguars? Perhaps, but I do wonder about the sustainability of a Jacksonville team that received 17 percent of its touchdowns off defensive returns last season. Assuming the Texans don’t face the spate of injuries they did a year ago, with Deshaun Watson reassuming his pre-injury play this season, I’ll take him by a hair over the Jaguars. And I have healthy respect for what the Jaguars have built, especially with a dominant defense and a potentially strong offensive line. I think it really could come down to the Week 17 game between the two teams.
GG: 1. Jaguars 2. Titans 3. Colts 4. Texans
The Jaguars reached the AFC championship game last year, and their roster is too strong not to compete for the same this season. The Titans tabbed a new coach to help Marcus Mariota reach his enormous potential, and have a deep roster. In Indianapolis, if Andrew Luck is healthy, the Colts will compete for a playoff spot. Overall, the AFC South has the makings of a very strong division. The Texans are a good club, and if Deshaun Watson plays the way he did before his injury, Houston could just as easily be first or second as last.
AA: 1. Texans 2. Jaguars 3. Titans 4. Colts
Jacksonville’s roster might be the best, but I believe more in the coaching and quarterback in Houston, where unrivaled reinforcements — Watson, Watt and Whitney Mercilus — are en route. I’m amped about Matt LaFleur resuscitating Marcus Mariota, but it feels like Tennessee might still be a playmaker or two away — and some Texans observers think losing the unproven Vrabel is addition by subtraction. It’d be helpful to at least know whether Reich will again need his magic QB2 touch before assessing Indy.
HA: 1. Texans 2. Jaguars 3. Titans 4. Colts
I'm assuming good health for Watt, Watson and Mercilus; what fun is it to pick the Jaguars? Jacksonville is too talented to implode, but Bortles is a big question mark, and it's always tougher the second time around. So, just how good is Marcus Mariota, and is Mike Vrabel really ready? Ballard's done some nice things, but there's so much to do, and will he have any Luck?