Earlier this month at the NFL Scouting Combine, we polled four national media members on various topics concerning the Texans and the AFC South. The results are featured in our exclusive five-part series this week on HoustonTexans.com.*
We asked, "Could the AFC South be the best division in the NFL?"
Ian Rapoport, NFL Network insider:
"I think it really could be. Since I started doing this, this is easily the best it's ever been. On one hand it's good because if you come out of it and you win, you get the respect of everyone. Playing the Jaguars isn't funny anymore. The Colts aren't going to have a season next year like they did last year. Titans' talent base is good and the Texans are getting all their guys back. Watson is going to be better, I think. It sounds like rehab is going really well."
Jenny Vrentas, senior writer for Sports Illustrated and The MMQB:
"It's always such a tough question to answer because the AFC East with the Patriots obviously has the best team from any league, right? So I have a hard time picking another division even though the AFC East isn't the deepest division, certainly. They have the Patriots. It's hard to pick anyone else."
Matthew Berry, ESPN's senior fantasy football analyst:
"It's a great question. Obviously, you think about what Jacksonville did. You think about Houston with Deshaun Watson for a full year (and) my guy, DeAndre Hopkins, a fully healthy defense. You guys had so many injuries on the defensive side of the ball. Assuming Andrew Luck is back, that changes the Colts and I think Frank Reich is going to do a great job there, and obviously Tennessee with Mike Vrabel, former Texans coach. It's right up there. It's going to be a very fun, competitive division to watch next year."
Greg Cosell, NFL analyst and senior producer at NFL Films:
"I don't think it would be the best. I think it can be highly competitive, which I thought it would be last year and things didn't quite work out because I didn't know Andrew Luck wouldn't play. And injuries, of course Houston was hit by injuries. I think it'll be a highly competitive division."
Albert Breer, senior NFL reporter for The MMQB:
"I have a hard time saying it is because I think the NFC South (with) quarterbacks Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston and Drew Brees. I think it's hard to say the NFC South wouldn't be that going into the 2018 season. I think over the last couple of years, you could say it's (AFC South) the most improved division."
Check out the best game photos as the Texans took on the Titans at NRG Stadium.