2021 AFC South Divisional Futures Predictions
The AFC South has never been a sexy division, but it was close to having two of their teams in the AFC Championship game last season.
The Indianapolis Colts are the odds-on favorite to win it in 2020. But Tennessee wants to put together another successful run like the one they had last year. Yet, Houston is the one who has dominated in recent years. The Jaguars will fight not to be the worst team in the league.
Let’s see their chances to win the AFC South in 2020:
Odds To Win The AFC South Division
|Bet On The AFC South Division Winner At|
Indianapolis Colts +120
In 2019, the Colts started 5-2. Then injuries happened, and the team finished the season 2-7, including two devastating losses to the awful Dolphins and the quarterback-less Steelers.
Much of the blame fell into QB Jacoby Brissett’s lap. The team didn’t have a good enough QB to outplay the easy opponents. The franchise seemed to agree when they gave veteran QB Philip Rivers a one-year contract.
Rivers threw 20 interceptions in 2019, the second-most in his career. Yet, the Colts still see him as a better option than Brissett. Indianapolis has the best offensive line in the entire NFL. It should give 38-year-old Rivers enough time in the pocket.
The Offense Will Feature WR TY Hilton
Hilton didn’t play the second half in 2019. His absence was one reason Indianapolis couldn’t sustain the winning the run from early in the year.
The team also drafted WR Michael Pittman to play across from Hilton, while Parris Campbell will be a speedy option in the slot. None of these names are superstars but good solid young players looking to prove they deserve a little more respect.
The Colts’ backfield also should be fantastic. Marlon Mack will be the starting tailback. But don’t be surprised if rookie Jonathan Taylor is the one with most of the touches by the end of the season.
Indy’s defense already had studs like LB Darius Leonard and safety Malik Hooker. But they added DT DeForest Buckner and veteran CB Xavier Rhodes. The ex-Vikings cornerback was abysmal last season, but a franchise change might suit him well.
Tennessee Titans +170
The Titans haven’t won the division since 2008. Last season, their unexpected run to the AFC championship game saw Tennessee get one step away to the Super Bowl as a wildcard team.
It’s unlikely Tennessee can put another run together like the one they had back in January. Yet, there is no reason to think the Titans can’t fight for the division. They gave new contracts to QB Ryan Tannehill and RB Derrick Henry. The team at least knows their identity: a play-action offense.
Their offense will succeed if Henry can emulate his 1540 yards from last season, but especially his 16 rushing touchdowns. Both numbers were the league’s best in 2019.
Tannehill doesn’t have to earn the starting job like a year ago. What he needs now is consistency, which is what he hasn’t been able to accomplish since entering the league. Second-year WR AJ Brown, WR Corey Davis, TE Jonnu Smith, and WR Adam Humphries will give plenty of options in the passing game.
What concerns me about the most about the Titans is their defense. Tennessee lost defensive coordinator Dean Pees, and the team hasn’t said who will call the plays. But also, they didn’t re-sign CB Logan Ryan, LB Wesley Woodyard, LB Cameron Wake, while traded DT Jurrell Casey to Denver.
Those names were significant contributors in the playoffs wins against New England and Baltimore last season.
Houston Texans +325
Houston has won four out of the last five divisional titles, but the team does not get the oddsmakers’ respect in 2020.
I think the league spotted HC Bill O’Brien does not understand how to put together a Super Bowl-winning team despite his recent success inside the AFC South.
For unknown reasons, O’Brien sent WR DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona in exchange for a second-round draft pick and RB David Johnson. The trade immediately weakened the Texans’ offense.
They also made a move to get WR Brandin Cooks. Cooks is a good receiver who has bounced around teams in the last few years. Yet, he’s not in Hopkins’ league. Houston also added WR Randall Cobb, but let’s face it, his best days are behind him.
On defense, the team also lost outstanding talent. DT DJ Reader moved to Cincinnati, veteran CB Jonathan Joseph went across the street and signed with the Titans while FS Mike Adams retired.
Houston seems to be in a position where they need QB Deshaun Watson to do miracles to have a chance inside the division. Granted, we have seen Watson do spectacular things, but losing his number one wideout should hurt him a lot in 2020.
Jacksonville Jaguars +1800
Just three seasons ago, the Jaguars led by ten points in New England in the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship game. It feels like ages ago. Now the team has one of the worst rosters in the league and has an unclear direction on what they want to do this season.
Second-year QB Gardner Minshew beat Nick Foles for the starting job a year ago and now is his team. The problem is, he doesn’t have a lot of talent around him to catch the football.
They are thin at wide receiver. Chris Conley was the fourth or fifth option on the Chiefs last season, but he’s now the second-best in Jacksonville. DJ Chark is their best wideout. He had good moments in 2019, but things are not great when he’s your best player.
The defense lost two major contributors. DE Calais Campbell moved to Baltimore, and CB AJ Bouye is now in Denver. Both were the two best defensive pieces remaining from the 2017 team that almost reached the Super Bowl.
Compared to the other three teams, the Jaguars are by far the weakest of the teams in the AFC South. The oddsmakers agree.
2021 AFC South Winner Prediction
I enjoyed what the Titans did in 2019. They should remain a dangerous team this season, but I don’t think they are the best in the AFC South.
The Colts have such a massive advantage in the offensive line that it will help them carry a 38-year old turnover-machine like Philip Rivers. Indianapolis is young, talented, and perhaps has the best coach in the division in Frank Reich.
Last year they should have won the division title, but the unexpected retirement of QB Andrew Luck two weeks before the season flushed their chances. They look healthy and ready to go in 2020. Colts +120 is my pick to win the AFC South.
2020 AFC South Winner Prediction:
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