Philip Rivers’ Colts, looking for their first division crown since 2014, are the favourites at +114 on the NFL odds even though Indy wasn’t a playoff team in 2019.
The AFC South is easily the most anonymous division in the NFL with teams located in cities like Indianapolis, Nashville and Jacksonville, and it probably will be the worst division in the league again this season from top-to-bottom with starting quarterbacks such as Philip Rivers (Hall of Famer but past his prime), Ryan Tannehill and Gardner Minshew.
Tannehill’s Titans have the longest division title drought, last winning the South in 2008, and are the +150 second-favourites on the NFL odds. The Houston Texans have won the South two years in a row and four of the past five but are +353 third-favourites. Then there are Minshew’s Jaguars at +1800 – most NFL experts believe they are the league’s worst team.
AFC South Division Preview
The biggest news inside the division this offseason was Indianapolis (8.5 wins at Sports Interaction) luring Rivers in free agency from the Chargers. There’s no question that Rivers is the most accomplished active quarterback never to win a Super Bowl – he hasn’t even played in one – as Rivers is Top 10 career in nearly all NFL passing statistics. How much does the 38-year-old (39 in December) have left? He threw for 4,615 yards last year and completed a very solid 66 per cent of his passes, but his 23 TDs were his fewest since 2007 and his 20 picks were the second-most of his career.
On the bright side, Rivers now will be playing behind arguably the NFL’s best offensive line – something he never came close to with the Chargers – and has a terrific 1-2 punch at running back in Marlon Mack and rookie second-round pick Jonathan Taylor. The defence is middle-of-the-pack, and many still wonder why the Colts haven’t signed Jadeveon Clowney. They could use him.
The Titans (8.5 wins) made a shocking run to the AFC title game last season, pulling off postseason upset victories at New England and Baltimore before losing in Kansas City. Tannehill resurrected his career taking over for an ineffective Marcus Mariota midseason, but Tannehill did very little in the postseason. The team simply rode NFL rushing king Derrick Henry and a good defence. Tannehill and Henry both got long-term deals this winter. We aren’t sure the Tannehill one will work out well for the team.
Houston (7.5 wins) has easily the best quarterback in the division and maybe second-best in the AFC in Deshaun Watson, but GM/coach Bill O’Brien for some reason traded All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona for past-his-prime running back David Johnson and some draft picks. That was one of a few really head-scratching moves O’Brien made this winter.
Then there’s Jacksonville (5 wins). In the past week or so, the Jags have dumped two of their best players in trading former Pro Bowl defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to Minnesota in a trade and releasing running back and 2017 No. 4 overall pick Leonard Fournette. Essentially every key player from the team that won the 2017 South title and reached the AFC title game (and almost won it at the Patriots) is now gone. The Jags could be tanking in 2020 to land Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence atop the 2021 draft – and maybe try to lure Clemson coach Dabo Swinney to join him in northeast Florida.
AFC South Division Odds Tracker
AFC South Predictions
The Colts finish first at 9-7 (over win total), the Titans second at 8-8 (under), Texans third at 7-9 (under) and Jaguars fourth at 3-13 (under).