What AFC South team is the biggest threat to the Houston Texans?

The Houston Texans have some real tough competition this offseason.
Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans
Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Many people seem to believe that the Houston Texans are the team to beat this year in the AFC South. The Texans not only retained most of their key players but also added several major stars to the roster like Danielle Hunter and Stefon Diggs. These acquisitions, plus the expected development of the young, budding stars the Texans have on their roster, have a lot of people predicting Houston to repeat as AFC South Champions.

It's not a far-flung idea, as the Texans look to be even better on paper this season than they were in 2023. Yet, they did lose some key guys like Jonathan Greenard, Blake Cashman and their starting defensive tackle duo. So they aren't without holes and concerns. Plus, some of us aren't entirely sold on the offensive line being better, which may impact a slightly more worrisome running game.

So it's not a foregone conclusion that the Texans will be able to repeat. Especially with the AFC South getting better around the Texans.

So when we think about the teams who could put up the biggest fight against the Texans, we're looking at a team that was both good in 2023 and is expected to be better in 2024. Right off the bat that eliminates the Tennesee Titans from a serious preseason contender. The Titans lost running back Derrick Henry and moved on from starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. They also fired their successful head coach Mike Vrable, and are embracing a near-full rebuild. Expecting the Titans to compete isn't realistic.

The Indianapolis Colts did a lot to bring back their core group. They were a winning team in 2023 and many people would assume they will be again in 2024, except for one big situation. The Colts let their successful starter and winning quarterback, Gardner Minshew, leave the team. This means the Colts will now be guided once again by Anthony Richardson, a 2023 rookie who missed most of 2023 due to injury. We have no idea if Richardson can produce in the NFL, making the club's 2024 prospects murky at best.

That means, by order of elimination, the Jacksonville Jaguars are the team to watch if you're worried about the Texans losing out on the AFC South. They're bringing back most of their team from 2023, which nearly won the AFC South, while also bringing in major names like Arik Armstead and Mitch Morse to help fortify the team's defensive and offensive lines.

It's very possible that due to both teams' offseason improvements, both the Jags and Texans are battling for the AFC South title as the season heads to a close.