Threat assessments for AFC South in 2017

Caplan: "Indianapolis Colts. Chris Ballard, the new GM. The Colts are going to make a big jump because they are going to press defense this offseason and I think they're going to take a big jump – as they should – because with Andrew Luck, they should be a good football team. They need to take it to the next level. I think they're going to be a big surprise."
Breer: "I'm going to say the Titans. What was most impressive to me about the way Mike Mularkey, Jon Robinson built that team, there was a real identity to it. They've zigged when everyone else has zagged, they invested in big people. They are big upfront on both sides of the ball. They run the ball effectively. I look at the Titans as being one of the teams that can be a tough matchup for a lot of teams that have gotten smaller defensively, and I think they're going to be able to build on what they established last year."
Flanagan: "I would say your team, the Texans. We just saw so much growth and I think maybe if they can figure out that quarterback piece and they get J.J. Watt back, right? Texans.
Rapaport: "I would say it would be the Texans. They look like they're ready to win – like really win."
La Confora: "I'll say Andrew Luck and Marcus Mariota. Either one of them playing in an MVP level – which isn't out of the roam of possibility – will shift the paradigm in that division."Caplan: "Indianapolis Colts. Chris Ballard, the new GM. The Colts are going to make a big jump because they are going to press defense this offseason and I think they're going to take a big jump – as they should – because with Andrew Luck, they should be a good football team. They need to take it to the next level. I think they're going to be a big surprise."
Breer: "I'm going to say the Titans. What was most impressive to me about the way Mike Mularkey, Jon Robinson built that team, there was a real identity to it. They've zigged when everyone else has zagged, they invested in big people. They are big upfront on both sides of the ball. They run the ball effectively. I look at the Titans as being one of the teams that can be a tough matchup for a lot of teams that have gotten smaller defensively, and I think they're going to be able to build on what they established last year."
Flanagan: "I would say your team, the Texans. We just saw so much growth and I think maybe if they can figure out that quarterback piece and they get J.J. Watt back, right? Texans.
Rapaport: "I would say it would be the Texans. They look like they're ready to win – like really win."
La Confora: "I'll say Andrew Luck and Marcus Mariota. Either one of them playing in an MVP level – which isn't out of the roam of possibility – will shift the paradigm in that division."




The Texans have captured four of the last six AFC South Titles, including the last two.
 

In 2016, though, the Tennessee Titans won nine games. They'd won five combined in 2014 and 2015, and had one winning season (2011) since 2008.
 

Quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts were 8-8 in 2015 and 2016 after three straight 11-win seasons to start his career. But with new leadership in the personnel department, there have been changes on the Colts roster.
 

Jacksonville, meanwhile, signed three defensive starters in cornerback A.J. Bouye, defensive lineman Calais Campbell and safety Barry Church. They also traded for a new left tackle in Branden Albert.
 

With all that in mind, Deepi Sidhu of HoustonTexans.com asked several members of the national media who they thought the biggest threat in the AFC South would be this autumn.
 

Here are the responses from Adam Caplan of ESPN, MMQB's Albert Breer, Alex Flanagan from NBC Sports, NFL.com's Ian Rapoport and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.



CAPLAN: "Indianapolis Colts. Chris Ballard, the new GM. The Colts are going to make a big jump because they are going to press defense this offseason and I think they're going to take a big jump – as they should – because with Andrew Luck, they should be a good football team. They need to take it to the next level. I think they're going to be a big surprise."
 

BREER: "I'm going to say the Titans. What was most impressive to me about the way Mike Mularkey, Jon Robinson built that team, there was a real identity to it. They've zigged when everyone else has zagged, they invested in big people. They are big upfront on both sides of the ball. They run the ball effectively. I look at the Titans as being one of the teams that can be a tough matchup for a lot of teams that have gotten smaller defensively, and I think they're going to be able to build on what they established last year."
 

FLANAGAN: "I would say your team, the Texans. We just saw so much growth and I think maybe if they can figure out that quarterback piece and they get J.J. Watt back, right? Texans.
 

RAPOPORT: "I would say it would be the Texans. They look like they're ready to win – like really win."
La Confora: "I'll say Andrew Luck and Marcus Mariota. Either one of them playing in an MVP level – which isn't out of the roam of possibility – will shift the paradigm in that division."





The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 3/2/2021)



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