For so very long … ger-jersey , the AFC South easily ranked among the NFLs worst divisions.Not anymore.Both Jacksonville and Tennessee are coming off playoff berths, with the Jaguars a blown lead in the AFC championship game from playing in the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history. The Jaguars and Titans also have their rosters from those trips back largely intact. Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt are healthy again in Houston. Even Andrew Luck is throwing passes and ready for the season in Indianapolis.Its crazy how nobody wanted to play in the AFC South a couple years ago, Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith said. Now it seems like itll be one of the premier (divisions) in the league.The Jaguars not only are defending division champs, they are looking for a second straight playoff berth for the first time since 1998-99. The Titans changed coache s after consecutive 9-7 seasons because sweeping Jacksonville last season wasnt enough to win the AFC South, and another postseason would be their first back-to-back berths since 2007-08. If the Texans stay healthy, they are chasing their third division title in four years.The Colts have a lot of rebuilding ahead, but a healthy Luck is so good that Indianapolis always has a chance.Heres what to look for out of the AFC South this season:SURGING JACKSONVILLEYes, the Jaguars not only are contenders, they are a popular pick to reach their first Super Bowl. That means dealing with high expectations from the start.Thats a big jump, but I feel like were going to put ourselves in the right position to be an immediate contender, defensive tackle Malik Jackson said. I think with the defensive product that we put out there, the offensive product we put out there, and special teams Dexter Williams Jersey , if we do anything less than what we did (last) year, itd be a huge disappointment. I know were going to be consistent. I can promise you that.All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey is keeping Jacksonville lively with his comments �? positive and disparaging �? on NFL quarterbacks. But Jaguars coach Doug Marrone has every key starter back, including 10 of 11 on one of the leagues stingiest defenses featuring six Pro Bowlers. Blake Bortles right wrist has been surgically repaired , and he has an offense that led the NFL in rushing last season.CONFIDENT TITANSTennessee has a first-time head coach who won three Super Bowl rings playing linebacker in New England, Mike Vrabel . This franchise also has been busy building the past three years trying to compete not only in the division but the AFC. The Titans gave themselves a big confidence boost by rallying for a wild-card win in Kansas City before a divisional loss in New England . It was an eye opener.To be able to experience that was huge, quarterback Marcus Mariota said. You understand that the postseason, everything kind of intensifies just a little bit more, and to go through that, to experience that in year three was huge. I do believe that it was a good stepping stone for this season, hopefully for future years as well.The Titans have new coordinator Matt LaFleur teaching Mariota his third offense in four seasons, and they replaced aging DeMarco Murray by signing Dion Lewis to work with Derrick Henry. They also bolstered the defense by signing cornerback Malcolm Butler and drafting linebackers Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry.HEALTHY TEXANSThis season has to be better for Houston if only because the Texans are healthier. When they finished their first losing season since 2013 at 4-12 last year, 22 Texans were on injured reserve. Losses of Watson , Watt and LB Whitney Mercilus were most costly. So even with the Texans run at a third straight division title over Nick Bosa Jersey , coach Bill OBrien got a new general manager and a contract extension .Watson was so thrilling while healthy. Yet the second-year quarterback will be tested if an offensive line anchored by center Nick Martin and featuring three new starters cant protect Watson any better than a year ago, when the Texans gave up the second-most sacks in the NFL.As dominant as Watt was in winning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award three times in four seasons, he now has to prove his body can survive a full season. Watt played only eight games combined over 2016 and 2017.COLTSFinally improving the offensive line has been a big key for general manager Chris Ballard in trying to end a three-year postseason drought. The Colts gave up a league-worst 56 sacks last season, and Luck wont stay healthy for long if they cant protect him better. Ballard drafted guard Quenton Nelson at No. 6 overall, signed two free agents, and has center Ryan Kelly coming back off an injury.Owner Jim Irsay also fired Chuck Pagano and hired Frank Reich when Josh McDaniels decided to stay in New England . Reich now has watched Luck return to the field; Luck is feeling much more confident in his own throwing shoulder.I feel like I can make all the throws I need to make with confidence, Luck said.Safety Malik Hooker is back from knee surgery that ended his rookie season after just seven games. But not even Luck might be able to cover up the roster issues that Ballard needs more time, draft picks and money to fix.PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH: Jaguars, Titans, Texans, Colts. Mike Foltynewicz loves trying to one-up his fellow hurlers in the Atlanta Braves red-hot pitching rotation.

He kept even with cohorts by tossing five shutout innings and Freddie Freeman homered as the Atlanta Braves held off the St. Louis Cardinals 6-5 on Sunday.

Its like a friendly competition with a fun group of guys, Foltynewicz said. Its a good vibe.

The Braves outscored St. Louis 22-10 in sweeping a three-game series in St. Louis for the first time since May 11-13, 2012.

Tommy Pham homered for St. Louis L.J. Collier Jersey , which has lost four in a row. The Cardinals scored five times in the seventh to rally from a 6-0 deficit.

Foltynewicz matched Julio Teheran and Max Fried to post the Braves third successive scoreless appearance by a starter. Teheran tossed six scoreless innings a 5-1 win on Friday. Fried did not allow a run in 6 2-3 innings of an 11-4 victory on Saturday.

Theyve been awesome, said Atlanta infielder Charlie Culberson, who had two hits and drove in two runs on Sunday, It makes it easier for us (hitters). A little bit more relaxed for us going up there.

Foltynewicz (6-4) surrendered one hit a fourth-inning single to Marcell Ozuna. He struck out nine and walked three in an 86-pitch outing.

He never gave in, he kept grinding, manager Brian Snitker said.

Foltynewicz has allowed just two hits and one run over 10 innings in two outings since coming off the disabled list with tightness in his right tricepts on June 25.

He was kind of wildly effective, St. Louis infielder Kolten Wong said. When youre throwing as hard as he was, it makes it tough.

The Braves three starters allowed seven hits over 17 2-3 innings with 24 strikeouts in the series.

Weve been feeding off each other, Foltynewicz said. Were always pulling for each other, pushing each other, asking questions. We hang around together and you can see that we take it out to the mound. Its been a really fun time.

A.J. Minter picked up his third save in as many tries by setting the side down in order in the ninth. He has not allowed a run in his last seven appearances.

Freemans 16th homer of the season, a two-run drive, pushed the lead to 3-0 in sixth. The blow highlighted a five-run uprising that also included a run-scoring hit from Culberson.

Pham hit a three-run homer off Peter Moylan in the seventh to bring the Cardinals to within 6-5.

St. Louis starter John Gant (2-3) allowed four runs on four hits over 5 1-3 innings.

Ive definitely got to do better … air-jersey , Gant said. Came out on the losing end, so anytime that happens, improvements need to be made.

Francisco Pena had a two-run single in the seventh for St. Louis, which will play 17 of its next 20 games on the road.

The Braves have been in first place or tied for first in 60 of the last 62 days. They kicked off their 10-game road trip in style.

To come out and win the first three games, thats really nice, Culberson said. But this series is done. We took care of business. Time to move on.

Atlanta infielder Ozzie Albies extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a sixth-inning single.


Braves: C Tyler Flowers returned to the starting lineup after missing Saturdays game. He suffered a muscle cramp in the sixth inning of Fridays 5-1 win.

Cardinals: RHP Luke Gregerson began a rehab stint with Triple-A Memphis on Sunday. He did not allow a hit over one inning. Gregerson was placed on the 10-day disabled list with shoulder impingement on May 16.


Braves RHP Anibal Sanchez (3-2, 2.68) will face RHP Jonathan Loaisiga (2-0, 1.93) in the first of a three-game series against the Yankees in New York. Sanchez is 4-1 in six lifetime starts against the Yankees.

Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (4-4, 3.22) takes on Arizona LHP Robbie Ray (3-0, 4.01) in the opener of a three-game series in Arizona that kicks off a nine-game road trip. Martinez is 2-0 in three starts at Chase Field.