The Houston Texans won the AFC South last season, but this division might be as competitive as it has been in a long time in 2019.

Andrew Luck is back to his old self, the Jacksonville Jaguars added a quarterback who can throw the ball and the Tennessee Titans seemed to find an identity in the running game last year.

All that leads to speculation that this division is up for grabs, and while there may not be a 13-win team in it in 2019, there may not be a team worse than .500 when all is said and done.

Here's the outlook for the AFC South heading into training camp:

 

TEAM ON THE RISE

Jacksonville Jaguars

Calling the Jaguars a team on the rise two seasons after they made the AFC Championship feels wrong, but there is no denying it's right. The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, and it appears Jacksonville finally have a quarterback. Super Bowl winner Nick Foles signed a four-year, $88million deal this offseason and will replace the much-maligned Blake Bortles. Simply having a QB who can protect the ball will go a long way for the team's defense and for getting Leonard Fournette some room to run.

TEAM ON THE DECLINE

Houston Texans

There are several ways the Texans are on the rise. They added a couple of offensive linemen early in the draft, which should help the team protect quarterback Deshaun Watson. The young QB has another year under his belt, and younger defenders like Justin Reid should be primed to improve this season.

But the team is in the middle of a contract disagreement with Jadeveon Clowney that might lead to a holdout. The drafted offensive linemen are a long way from being great, plus the team let shutdown cornerback Tyrann Mathieu go for virtually nothing and they'll go through the 2019 season without a general manager having fired Brian Gaine after just one year.

Oh yeah, and Bill O'Brien still has issues with simple clock and game management. That's a team that could easily decline.

ROOKIES TO WATCH

Josh Allen, LB, Jaguars: As if the Jaguars didn't already have enough pass-rushing talent, the Oakland Raiders and New York Giants passed on Allen, who might have been the best player in college football with Kentucky last year. He's going to make an already scary front seven for the Jaguars even more terrifying. 

Kahale Warring, TE, Texans: A former water polo player who really came into his own at San Diego State last year, Warring gives Watson a tight end who can finally scare a defense with his pass-catching and could be an intriguing part of the offense for the next several years.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT

Darius Leonard

Leonard completely changed the feel of the Colts defense as a rookie in 2018. He finished the season with 163 tackles, four forced fumbles and two interceptions and turned Indianapolis' defense from one to be laughed at into one to be cautious about. His performance in 2019 could go a long way toward continuing to make the team's defense better – or letting it regress. If he is what he was last year, then the Colts should continue to get better. If he's not, then Luck will be pressing again on offense.

KEY INJURIES

Andrew Luck, calf: The Colts quarterback, who'll be 30 in September, was forced to miss all of the team's offseason workouts because of a lingering calf injury, but the team doesn't seem too concerned about his long-term outlook. However, the Colts weren't concerned about his shoulder either when he missed all of 2017. This could be something of a concern – or it might not be. It's just another part of the long-running worries about Luck's health that always seem to plague his career.

The Jacksonville Jaguars will be short on defense as mandatory minicamp starts, with Yannick Ngakoue holding out due to a contract dispute.

Ngakoue, 24, released a statement on Monday revealing his contract was the reason he will be missing from the team facility this week.

“I will not be attending minicamp as my contract has not been resolved," Ngakoue said via ESPN.

"I remain committed to Jacksonville, the fans and my team-mates. My hope is to be with Jacksonville for years to come.”

The defensive lineman is in the final year of his rookie contract and is expected to make a base salary of $2.025million.

Ngakoue, who earned a Pro Bowl berth in 2017, has 29.5 sacks under his belt in his first three years in the NFL. The former third-round pick is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2020.

DeMarcus Lawrence, Frank Clark, Dee Ford and Trey Flowers are among the pass-rushers to have landed big contracts this offseason, which would not have gone unnoticed by Ngakoue.

If Ngakoue does not get the deal he wants and decides to sit out this season, it would be another huge blow for Jacksonville's defense.

Linebacker Telvin Smith previously announced he would be sitting out the 2019 season to "get my world in order" and to focus on his family and health.

Nick Foles is missing organised team activities with the Jacksonville Jaguars due to "personal reasons".

The quarterback, about to enter his first season with the Jaguars, does not have a timetable for his return, although NFL Media reported he could be back by the end of this week.

Head coach Doug Marrone said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Nick and his family".

He added: "He knows, like anything else, that we're here for him. The football part, we'll just figure that out."

Foles, 30, signed a four-year, $88million contract with the team in the offseason after spending the past two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles as Carson Wentz's backup. 

In both seasons, Wentz went down with an injury that forced him to miss the latter part of the year, as well as the playoffs.

Foles' performance in the 2017-18 season made him a hero, as he helped the Eagles bring home their first Super Bowl title after defeating the New England Patriots.

He is expected to be the Jaguars' starter this season.

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette is ready for a fresh start ahead of the NFL season.

While he is still with the Jaguars, Fournette is hoping the upcoming campaign will serve as a reboot after an injury and suspension kept him off the field for half the year.

"I'm happy, especially the way I'm here working with my team right now," Fournette – the fourth pick in the 2017 draft – said Friday after organised team activities.

"It's a new year. We have a new team. We're focused and we have new players. It's a new year for us. So it's a new everything. It's a clean start for a lot of us guys.

"We're not focused on the past. The past's the past. Some things I did, whether it was offseason and I admitted to, yeah, I was wrong. We moved on. We're in a good place right now."

The offseason incident Fournette referred to was an arrest in April. The 24-year-old was cited for knowingly driving with a suspended license stemming from a separate incident in November 2018.

Fournette is coming off a disappointing 2018 season. In eight games, he only logged 439 rushing yards and six total touchdowns.

"I kind of put a lot on myself this offseason, like getting my body right," Fournette said. "Just mentally coming back ready to play football. No distractions. Leaving the outside stuff where it's at. I think that's one of the biggest things that us players have a problem with.

"We face a lot of problems, you know what I mean? We have a lot of issues ourselves. And if we're not right with ourselves and then we come out on this field, we're not going to be right in the game."

Telvin Smith has announced he will not be on the field for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season.

The linebacker said on Thursday that he is taking time away from the NFL to "get my world in order", although he reiterated he is not retiring.

Smith, 28, has been the subject of trade rumours and sat out the early portion of the Jaguars' voluntary offseason activities.

"It was said to me from a great coach that in order for the man to be his best, he must get his world in order," Smith posted on Instagram.

"At this time, I must take time away from this game and get my world in order. I must give this time back to myself, my family and my health.

"I appreciate all the support I will and will not get. I just ask y'all respect my decision to not play football this season.

I know the rumours of trade talk came about, but I started my career in Jacksonville and the day I do decide to call it quits will be right here in Duval.

"I love y'all and even in my time off, it's #10toesdwn, ya feel me!!! Love!"

The Jaguars responded in a statement: "We will not have a comment about Telvin Smith's statement at this time.

"We need to have a conversation with Telvin to understand the situation and the circumstances. If there is a way we can support him we need to understand that."

Smith went to the Pro Bowl in 2017, the same year he signed a four-year $45million extension.

In his five seasons with Jacksonville, he has 587 combined tackles with 7.5 sacks and nine interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns.

A history-making first round of the NFL Draft is in the books and, though there are still two days to go in Nashville, the merits of the opening 32 selections will already be the subject of intense debate.

Whether the Arizona Cardinals were right to make Kyler Murray the first player to be selected in the opening rounds of both the MLB and NFL Drafts will be discussed for months to come.

But, while Murray made the headlines, there were numerous other intriguing choices sure to divide opinion among fanbases.

Here we look at some of the best and the worst selections from day one in Nashville.

 

THE BEST

Jacksonville Jaguars - Josh Allen, Kentucky

As Allen surprisingly slipped out of the top five this pick was something of a no-brainer for the Jaguars, but it is still worthy of praise. Allen is a supremely athletic pass rusher who can have a day-one impact pressuring the quarterback and also does an excellent job making plays in coverage. The landing spot, which sees him join a deep Jaguars defensive front, could hardly be better.

Washington Redskins - Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

There was a lot of talk of the Redskins potentially trading up for a quarterback. In the end they did not have to as Haskins fell into their grasp with the 15th pick. Haskins, who gets to stay close to home having grown up in Maryland, offers them an exciting future at the game's most important position. Trading back into the first round for edge rusher Montez Sweat, whose heart condition is apparently not as serious as first thought, adds more depth to an already impressive defensive line.

Baltimore Ravens - Marquise Brown, Oklahoma

The Ravens were able to trade down three spots from 22 to 25, acquire extra picks and still land the best wide receiver in the draft. 'Hollywood' Brown not only has game-breaking speed but is also one of the most polished route runners in the class. This is a gift for second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson.

THE WORST

New York Giants - Daniel Jones, Duke

Having been coached by David Cutcliffe, who Eli Manning worked under during his college career, Jones may seem like the ideal successor to the Giants veteran. However, he completed under 60 per cent of his passes at Duke, struggled to push the ball downfield - averaging only 6.4 yards per attempt - and was not exactly careful with the ball, throwing 29 interceptions. Jones is a significant reach with the sixth overall pick.

Seattle Seahawks - L.J. Collier, TCU

Seattle's main aim in the first round appeared to be to trade down and acquire more picks, and they succeeded, going from owning five to nine. Yet, having initially had two in the first round, it feels like a missed opportunity for the Seahawks, who could have added one of the best athletes in the draft to their defensive front in Sweat. He would have been an outstanding addition to a team that recently traded away star pass rusher Frank Clark and, though defensive end Collier is a decent consolation prize, his ceiling is much more limited.

New England Patriots - N'Keal Harry, Arizona State

The Patriots are not renowned for taking first-round receivers, and Harry certainly carries risk. Despite possessing an enticing blend of size, speed and agility, there is doubt over whether Harry can play as a boundary receiver at the NFL level having struggled to handle press coverage during his collegiate career at Arizona State. There are better pass catchers who have yet to hear their name called.

The Arizona Cardinals did as expected with the first overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft and created a quarterback controversy.

A year on from taking Josh Rosen, the Cardinals made Kyler Murray the second successive Oklahoma quarterback to go with the top overall pick after Baker Mayfield went to the Cleveland Browns in 2018.

Mayfield already appears destined for success and the Cardinals will hope Murray, who became the first man to be selected in the opening round of both the MLB and NFL drafts, can have a similarly transformative impact on their team after making the decision to choose football over baseball two months ago.

By taking Murray, the Cardinals passed on the two players perceived as the best in the class, and they will see one of them twice a year.

Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa went second to the San Francisco 49ers and will be tasked with hunting down Murray in their divisional meetings. Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams joins namesake Leonard Williams on a New York Jets defensive front that now looks a lot more imposing.

It was the New York Giants who sprung perhaps the biggest surprise of Thursday's proceedings in Nashville, unexpectedly drafting Eli Manning's successor with the sixth overall pick, which they used on Duke quarterback Daniel Jones.

The 17th overall pick, which the Giants acquired in the trade to send Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns, was spent on defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, before New York later selected Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker after a trade with the Atlanta Falcons.

Dwayne Haskins had been tipped to be the second quarterback taken prior to the selection of Jones, and they can expect to be compared for a long time to come after the Ohio State passer moved to the Washington Redskins with the 15th pick.

The Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills each acquired premier defensive talents in Josh Allen and Ed Oliver respectively, while one of Murray's favourite targets Marquise 'Hollywood' Brown is poised to form an exciting connection with Lamar Jackson after the Baltimore Ravens traded up for the wide receiver.

Tom Brady will also have a new pass-catcher to throw to as Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots capped off the first round with the selection of Arizona State wideout N'Keal Harry.

 

First Round in full:

1. Arizona Cardinals - Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
2. San Francisco 49ers- Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
3. New York Jets - Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
4. Oakland Raiders - Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Devin White, LB, LSU
6. New York Giants - Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky
8. Detroit Lions - T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
9. Buffalo Bills - Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (trade with Denver Broncos) - Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
11. Cincinnati Bengals - Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
12. Green Bay Packers - Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
13. Miami Dolphins - Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
14. Atlanta Falcons - Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College
15. Washington Redskins - Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
16. Carolina Panthers - Brian Burns, OLB, Florida State
17. New York Giants from Cleveland Browns - Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
18. Minnesota Vikings - Garrett bradbury, C, N.C. State
19. Tennessee Titans - Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
20. Denver Broncos (trade with Pittsburgh Steelers) - Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
21. Green Bay Packers (trade with Seattle Seahawks) - Darnell Savage Jr., S, Maryland
22. Philadelphia Eagles (trade with Baltimore Ravens) - Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
23. Houston Texans - Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State
24. Oakland Raiders from Chicago Bears - Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
25. Baltimore Ravens (trade with Philadelphia Eagles) - Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
26. Washington Redskins (trade with Indianapolis Colts) - Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
27. Oakland Raiders from Dallas Cowboys - Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
28. Los Angeles Chargers - Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
29. Seattle Seahawks from Kansas City Chiefs - L.J. Collier, DE, TCU
30. New York Giants (trade with Seattle Seahawks) - Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
31. Atlanta Falcons (trade with Los Angeles Rams) - Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington
32. New England Patriots - N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

The Chicago Bears will face the Oakland Raiders in the first NFL match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the NFL confirmed on Wednesday.

Spurs' new home was purposely designed with an NFL field under the playing surface and the Bears and Raiders will get first use of the pitch.

A total of five regular season matches will be hosted outside the United States, with London hosting another three and the other in Mexico City.

The London schedule will kick off with an intriguing game between the Bears and the Raiders as Chicago will bring Khalil Mack overseas to play against the team that traded him out of Oakland, while the Raiders bring a new look to their roster with Antonio Brown.

Seven days later, the Carolina Panthers will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the same venue in a match-up that will feature NFC South divisional rivals as Cam Newton and Jameis Winston square off. 

Wembley will also host two matches as the Cincinnati Bengals meet the Los Angeles Rams, while the final match sees the Jacksonville Jaguars – complete with new quarterback Nick Foles - play the Tennessee Texans in an AFC South match-up.

The NFL will give a game in Mexico another shot after the Rams versus the Kansas City Chiefs was cancelled last season out of concern for player safety concerns due to field conditions.

This time the Chiefs will meet the Los Angeles Charges in mid-November at the Azteca Stadium.

Quarterback Blake Bortles is no longer with the Jacksonville Jaguars after being released following the acquisition of Nick Foles.

Bortles led the Jaguars to the playoffs in 2017 and signed a three-year, $54million extension before regressing last season.

The 26-year-old completed 60.3 per cent of his passes and threw for 13 touchdowns, along with 11 interceptions, for Jacksonville last season. The Jaguars went just 3-9 in his starts and he was benched in favour of backup Cody Kessler.

In order to fill the vacancy, Jacksonville announced they had signed Super Bowl-winning QB Foles to a four-year, $88m deal after he left the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said last week the team were evaluating the quarterback position and Bortles remained "in the mix" to be its starter.

"The goal is to put the best team on the field," Caldwell told reporters at the NFL combine. "Obviously, the quarterback is a key part of that, but we have to make sure we have the best team — we have the best offense, the best defense. The quarterback will slide in place when it is time for that player to come in place.

"It may not be until the draft, it may be through free agency, but when that time comes we want to make sure we have the best team offensively and defensively around that position."

The Jaguars selected Bortles out of UCF with the third pick in the 2014 draft, but he has struggled during his time with the team. He holds just a 24-49 record as a starter while tallying 103 touchdowns and 75 interceptions in 75 career games.

It was a busy day in the NFL.

Multiple big-name free agents reportedly agreed to contracts on Monday — including safety Landon Collins and quarterback Nick Foles — while there was also a notable trade.  

Veteran linebacker Terrell Suggs and running back Frank Gore both reportedly found new teams, as well.

 

Here is a list of Monday's biggest moves:

— Malik Jackson is heading to Philadelphia. The Eagles reportedly inked the defensive tackle to a three-year, $30million contract.

— Offensive tackle Trent Brown is leaving the New England Patriots for a four-year, $66m deal with the Oakland Raiders, according to ESPN.

— Landon Collins is staying in the NFC East. The former New York Giants safety reportedly agreed to a massive six-year, $84m contract with the Washington Redskins.

— The Detroit Lions had a busy day. They reportedly signed wide receiver Danny Amendola to a one-year deal, inked Justin Coleman to a four-year, $36m contract and added defensive end Trey Flowers.

— The Buffalo Bills also made multiple moves Monday. Running back Frank Gore, center Mitch Morse and Tyler Kroft all reportedly signed with the team.  

— The Francisco 49ers added Kwon Alexander on a four-year, $54m deal. The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker tore his anterior cruciate ligament in week seven and missed the rest of last season.

— The New York Jets are expected to have an active offseason and they made their first move on Monday. They reportedly signed wide receiver Jamison Crowder to a three-year, $28.5m deal.

— DeSean Jackson is re-joining the Eagles. The Buccaneers reportedly agreed to a deal to send the wide receiver to Philadelphia. He played with the Eagles from 2008-13.

— The Jacksonville Jaguars seem to have found their new quarterback. Jacksonville agreed to a four-year, $88m contract with Nick Foles, according to multiple reports.

— Terrell Suggs had spent his entire 16-year career with the Baltimore Ravens. But, he is reportedly leaving the Ravens and is expected to sign with the Arizona Cardinals.

The Jacksonville Jaguars appear to have won the race to sign Nick Foles.

Jacksonville are expected to sign the free agent quarterback to a four-year, $88million deal, according to an NFL Network report.

Foles' deal will come with $50m guaranteed, according to a report from ESPN, which cites unidentified league sources.

The Jaguars are expected to release former starter Blake Bortles once the agreement is official.

Foles threw for 1,473 yards and seven touchdowns in five games for the Eagles last season. He replaced an injured Carson Wentz for their postseason run, where Philadelphia topped the Chicago Bears in the wild-card round before falling to the New Orleans Saints. 

The 30-year-old also filled in for an injured Wentz and led Philadelphia through the playoffs and to a victory in Super Bowl 52.

The Jaguars have been rumored to be front-runners to land Foles since the conclusion of last season, and it looks like they'll get their wish.

Jacksonville finished last in the AFC South in 2018, posting a 5-11 record.

 

The dust may have long since settled on Super Bowl LIII, but there will plenty of NFL activity over the coming days as the new league year, and with it free agency, begins.

Teams are permitted to begin negotiating with out-of-contract players from Monday as the so-called 'legal-tampering period' opens.

As the salary cap continues to increase each year, more teams have more money to play with and as such numerous teams have the ammunition to make multiple marquee signings.

Here we look at five teams likely to be making the most of their deep pockets as they look to improve their respective rosters.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are set to sign free-agent quarterback Nick Foles, according to reports.

Foles has starred for the Philadelphia Eagles in place of the injured Carson Wentz in each of the last two seasons, but the team have not used their franchise tag on the player for the 2019 campaign.

The Eagles did pick up Foles' option for the coming year, yet he reportedly paid $2million to get out of the $20m deal.

Various reports are now claiming Foles will sign a multi-year contract with the Jaguars.

And according to ESPN, his arrival will spell the end for fellow QB Blake Bortles in Jacksonville, with the 26-year-old expected to be released.

Foles, 30, has 68 touchdowns and 33 interceptions in 54 career games. He also boasts the sixth-best career postseason passer rating (98.8) in NFL history, having led the Eagles to Super Bowl glory a year ago.

Bortles completed 60.3 per cent of his passes and threw for 13 touchdowns, along with 11 interceptions, for the Jaguars last season. Jacksonville went 3-9 in his starts and he was benched in favour of backup Cody Kessler.

The NFC did not have a chance in the 2019 NFL Pro Bowl.

The AFC claimed a 27-6 victory in Orlando, Florida on Sunday.

The NFC fell behind 20-0 and did not score until there was just over nine minutes remaining.

Both teams were having fun and players got to experiment and play in unfamiliar positions.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes took home offensive MVP honours. The AFC swept the competition, as New York Jets safety Jamal Adams took home defensive MVP award.

 

Mahomes leads the way

Mahomes completed seven of his 14 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown.

Anthony Sherman only got one carry for two yards during the regular season for Kansas City, but shined bright on Sunday. The fullback recorded a rushing touchdown and caught three passes for 92 yards.

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen caught four passes for 95 yards to lead the AFC.

Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Cooper had a career year and scored the NFC's only touchdown with a 20-yard reception.

 

Saints pair struggle

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara only recorded two carries for two yards. He did not have any receptions in the contest.

Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas did not record a single catch and was only targeted once.

 

No stopping Ramsey

Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey experimented on the offensive side of the ball and caught a six-yard touchdown pass for the last score of the game.

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard confused the defense with this fake pitch after his interception

 

Super Bowl LIII: Patriots v Rams

The last NFL game of the season will take place on February 3. The Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots will battle it out at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. This will be the third straight Super Bowl appearance for New England and their fourth in the last five years. 

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