Earlier this month at the NFL Scouting Combine, we polled national media members on various topics pertaining to the Texans and the AFC South. Their answers are featured in our exclusive five-part series on HoustonTexans.com.*
We asked, "Who will be the 2018 AFC South champions?"
Greg Cosell, NFL analyst and senior producer at NFL Films:
"The Houston Texans. I actually really like what Bill O'Brien did with Deshaun Watson a lot. Assuming Deshaun's healthy – and I think he will be – I think that their offense will be really good. I think their defense will be really solid too. They're a really interesting team this year. To me, they're an interesting national team."
Matthew Berry, ESPN's senior fantasy football analyst:
"Well I'm on Texans.com, so Texans. I'm a homer – I don't care. You have to feel Jacksonville is the favorite. If I'm a Houston Texans fan, I think you have to feel pretty good about the future."
Albert Breer, senior NFL reporter for The MMQB:
"You put me right on the spot there. It's hard to say before free agency and the draft. I mean the Jaguars bring everyone back basically, or should bring everyone back that was really good last year. On the doorstep of the Super Bowl, I'd say they are the favorite going in. A lot is going to depend on how much more they can get out of Blake Bortles, but certainly I think they have to go in the season (as) the favorite."
Ian Rapoport, NFL Network insider:
"It's tough. It's a really good division now. It's not like it used to be. It's like Texans used to get killed for winning a bad division. Now you win that division and it's going to be I think one of the better divisions in football. I don't know what the Titans are going to end up being. I'll tell you this, I think I know where the Jaguars are going to be. I think the Texans have a very, very, very good shot – especially if they continue on the trajectory they had last year."
Jenny Vrentas, senior writer for Sports Illustrated and The MMQB:
"I would say the Texans if Deshaun Watson comes back healthy. I'm not just saying that because I'm talking to people from the Texans, but I think if he's healthy. He's so dynamic. We saw that before he got hurt. I know the Titans and the Jaguars made the playoffs last year, but I think the Texans with Deshaun Watson could be a nice surprise next season."