How does the AFC South compare to other NFL divisions?
In a recent story by NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal, the AFC South, home of the Jaguars, was ranked as the fifth best conference in the league.
I’m not sure the AFC South is the fifth best team in the NFL, but that’s where NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal has ranked them among for this coming season. the division that houses the Jaguars, Texans, Colts and Titans may not get the accolades it deserves, especially given the talent level at quarterback and the addition of Nick Foles, who is now the Jaguars signal caller.
All four teams in the AFC South could have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs in 2019. The Jaguars were bottom feeders last season at 5-11, but are two seasons removed from almost bringing “Duuuval” to Minnesota and Super Bowl 52. The man who quarterbacked the Eagles to that Super Bowl ring is now under center and the leader of John DeFilippo’s offense.
Rosenthal does show some respect by saying the division is not as bad as it has been in recent seasons and change within the four franchises could make 2019 one of the more competitive runs toward the playoffs.
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"“It’s refreshing to put a division too often forgotten this high. All four teams have legitimate playoff hopes and could be Super Bowl contenders with a few breaks,” Rosenthal adds.“Don’t let television ratings that don’t impact your life impact your enjoyment of the game. These squads are all eminently watchable, unpredictable and have enough playmakers to end this division’s recent lack of playoff success (one conference title game appearance in the last four years).”"
The biggest change of any of the four teams is the addition of Foles and the return of running back Leonard Fournette, who had his troubles to deal with on and off the field last season. The Jaguars front office is hoping for a more mature Fournette, who needs to show up to training camp and prove his 1,040-yard rookie season is more indicative of what he can do on the football field, not the eight games he missed because of injury and suspension, will also be a catalyst of this offense.
"Just like Adam Carlson of thevikingage.com wrote, “Every year, there seems to be at least one instance where determining which team in a division will become the champion comes down to Week 17.”"
Could this be the one where Jacksonville is clearly in the driver’s seat and two of their three rivals are fighting for a wild card spot, or will the Jaguars, 5-11 last season, have to scratch and claw their way toward the post season?
We won’t know that until Week 17. With the Jaguars schedule already determined, it could be a tough battle laden with strong AFC South divisional opponents and teams that like Kansas City and New Orleans who were a game away from a shot at the Lombardi Trophy last season.