NFL Futures: AFC South

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In a little over eight weeks, the greatest sport and the best sport to gamble on returns. People have started to break down who will be on their fantasy team, and fans have convinced themselves that this will be their year, even though their team missed the playoffs last year. This is the time when fans are the most hopeful, no injuries are happening in training camp, and your heart isn’t broken because you haven’t yet realized that your team sucks. 

Today we are looking at the AFC South. Last year this division was only between two teams. The Colts and Titans tied for first in the division, going 11-5 in the regular season. The Titans won the division because of their winning percentage in division games. The loss in week one for the Colts versus the Jaguars was one of the key factors why they didn’t have a high enough winning percentage. Is this year going to be between the Colts and Titans again? Or will the Jaguars led by rookie Trevor Lawrence steal the division? The Texans have the highest odds to win a division, so it’ll be a miracle if they end up winning.

Indianapolis Colts To Win Division +110. Over 9.5 Wins -150 Under 9.5 Wins +125

Last year they tied with the Titans for first in the AFC South but lost the division because of the winning percentage against their division. The Colts made the playoffs because of the Wild Card but lost in the Wild Card round 24-27 versus the Bills. Phillip Rivers had a throwback performance that came up just short, but he will no longer be under center since he retired. Carson Wentz is the new quarterback for the Colts. Will the change of scenery have Wentz get back on track, or is he an actually bad quarterback?

Indianapolis traded a 2021 3rd round pick and a conditional 2022 3rd round pick for Carson Wentz in the offseason. He is reunited with head coach Frank Reich who was the offensive coordinator for the Eagles in 2017. Before Wentz tore his ACL in 2017, he was a frontrunner for MVP. In 13 games played, he had a 60.2 completion percentage, 3296 yards, 33 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and a 78.5 QBR. Last year after 12 games, the Eagles decided that Wentz was no longer the starter and went with Jalen Hurts instead. In the 12 games that Wentz played, he had a 57.4 completion percentage, 2620 yards, 16 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, and a 49.6 QBR. Will Wentz go back to his 2017 self, or will he post similar stats as last year?

Last year with Phillip Rivers, the Colts finished with the 12th overall offense, 9th points, 10th yards, 11th passing yards, 22nd passing touchdowns, 11th rushing yards, and 6th rushing touchdowns. RB Jonathan Taylor was a 2020 ROY award candidate. He finished with 1,468 total yards and 12 touchdowns. Last year, they finished with the 12th overall defense, 11th points allowed, 8th yards allowed, 20th passing yards allowed, 12th passing touchdowns allowed, 2nd rushing yards allowed, and 14th rushing touchdowns allowed.

They are all in on Carson Wentz since losing QB Jacoby Brissett in free agency; they also lost DE Denico Autry and PK Adam Vinatieri. Vinatieri retired in the offseason; he didn’t play in 2020 because of rehabbing after knee surgery. Losing the legendary kicker won’t hurt that much since, in 2019, Vinatieri was horrible since he put up in career lows in field goal percentage (68%) and extra point percentage (78.6%). They also added T Eric Fisher and drafted DE Kwity Paye, DE Dayo Odeyingbo, and TE Kylen Granson.

Having to play the NFC West is rough since I believe that will be the best division. Other than the NFC West playing against the Ravens, Bills, and Bucs are three more tough games. Playing against the Jets will be an easy win. They will also be favored in games against the Dolphins, Patriots, Cardinals, and Raiders. I know I’m bias being an Eagles fan, and I will always believe in Carson Wentz. Frank Reich is a great coach; the Colts have a great defense and great offensive line. This is why I’m taking their over in wins and for them to win the division. They are a balanced team which can’t be said about other teams in the AFC South.

Tennessee Titans To Win Division +115. Over 9 Wins -150 Under 9 Wins +125

The Titans last year won the AFC South going 11-5, and had the higher winning percentage against division games. Tennessee started the season going 5-0 but was then streaking the rest of the season, finishing 6-5. In the Wild Card round, they faced off against the Ravens and lost 13-20. Derrick Henry led the Titans again and won back-to-back rushing titles finishing with 2027 yards and 17 touchdowns. Will Derrick Henry lead the Titans to their first ever back-to-back division titles?

Ryan Tannehill has completely transformed his career after arriving in Tennessee. Last year Tannehill had another great season having a 65.5 completion percentage, 3819 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. In the offseason, the Titans traded for Julio Jones, who will hope to revamp his career. Last year he only played 9 games, 771 yards, and 3 touchdowns. In 2018 he played 16 games, 1677 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Hopefully, the change of scenery will bring Julio Jones back to his All Pro form. That wasn’t the only changes that the Titans made in the offseason they also added EDGE Bud Dupree, EDGE Denico Autry, and CB Janoris Jenkins. They drafted CB Caleb Farley, OT Dillion Radunz, and LB Monty Rice. They lost WR Corey Davis, WR Adam Humphries, and EDGE Jadeveon Clowney.

It wasn’t their offense that was a problem; they finished with the 11th overall offense, 4th points, 2nd yards, 22nd passing yards, 8th passing touchdowns, 2nd rushing yards, and 2nd rushing touchdowns. Their defense was their biggest problem; they finished with the 21st overall defense, 24th points allowed, 28th yards allowed, 29th passing yards allowed, 31st passing touchdowns allowed, and 22nd rushing touchdowns allowed. It’s surprising, especially with their head coach being Mike Vrabel, an all-pro linebacker and the Texans’ defensive coordinator before becoming the head coach of the Titans.

Like the Colts, the Titans have to go against the NFC West. Will the Titans’ horrible defense contain Matthew Stafford and the Rams, Kyler Murray and the Cardinals, or Russell Wilson and the Seahawks? In addition to the NFC West, they also play games against the Bills and Chiefs. I don’t think that the addition of Julio Jones will make this offense be able to carry their defense. The Titans are good, so I will take their over in wins, but I will not take them to win the division.

Jacksonville Jaguars To Win Division +700. Over 6.5 Wins -110 Under 6.5 Wins -110

After a surprising week, one victory over the Colts, the Jaguars went in full Tank for Trevor mode. They lost every game afterward, finishing with a 1-15 record and dead last in the AFC South. During that 15 game skid, they were outscored 472-279. Tank for Trevor worked as they were awarded the first overall pick and drafted Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence will be the 13th starting quarterback in the last 12 seasons for Jacksonville. They also changed their head coaching by firing Doug Marrone and hired Ohio State legend, Urban Meyers.

The Jaguars were horrible on both sides of the defensive ball. They finished with the 29th overall offense, 29th points, 28th yards, 21st passing yards, 19th passing touchdowns, 28th rushing yards, and 31st rushing touchdowns. Their defense was somehow worse, finishing with the 30th overall defense, 31st points allowed, 31st yards allowed, 27th passing yards allowed, 30th rushing yards allowed, and 29th rushing touchdowns allowed. They tried to better their defense by signing CB Shaquill Griffin and DL Malcolm Brown in the offseason. Trevor Lawrence was the big name they drafted, but they also drafted RB Travis Etienne and CB Tyson Campbell. They lost WR Keelan Cole, WR Chris Conley, and DT Al Woods.

I think that the Jaguars are better than the Jets, and Texans and that’s about it. Sure they could upset some teams, but they will need to find four more wins if they take care of business against the Texans and Jets. I think the future is much brighter in Jacksonville, but it will need to wait a couple of years. This is why I’m taking their under in wins and for them not to win the division.

Houston Texans To Win Division +2700. Over 4 Wins -125 Under 4 Wins +105

The Texans’ run of AFC South titles was snapped last season as they finished 4-12 last season for third in the division. In 2018 Houston went 11-5, and in 2019, 10-6. The Texans’ entire management was shaken up with Bill O’Brien being fired as the GM and head coach. Nick Caserio is the new GM, and David Culley is the new head coach. The future of Deshaun Watson is up in the air as he is dealing with legal issues. Nobody knows yet if it’ll be Watson or Tyrod Taylor under center in week one.

It wasn’t the offense’s fault for their 4-12 record since they had the 16th overall offense; 18th points, 13th yards, 4th passing yards, 8th passing touchdowns, 31st rushing yards, and 30th rushing touchdowns. Trading Deandre Hopkins for David Johnson should have helped their rushing stats, but Johnson last year, in 12 games, had 691 yards and 6 touchdowns. It wasn’t only David Johnson who was a letdown last year but also the entire defense. They finished with the 28th overall defense, 27th points allowed, 30th yards allowed, 24th passing yards allowed, 23rd passing touchdowns allowed, and 32nd rushing yards allowed.

The Texans lost some big names in free agency that have been a staple in Houston for many years. DE J.J. Watt and WR Will Fuller both left in free agency. They added QB Tyrod Taylor, WR Donte Moncrief, and RB Philip Lindsay in free agency. I guess trading Deandre Hopkins for David Johnson wasn’t enough; they had to also add Lindsay. They drafted WR Nico Collins, TE Brevin Jordan, and QB Davis Mills. A lot of offensive players were added, but nothing to help their horrible defense.

If Deshaun Watson isn’t playing this season, we could see a possible 0-16 season for Houston. Their only hope would be week 12 versus the Jets, but I don’t have much faith in them even then. If I’m getting positive odds for the under for a team with huge concerns on both sides of the ball, doesn’t know if their star quarterback will play; I will take that all day. So I’m taking their under in wins, and I’m obviously not taking them to win the division because I don’t like setting money on fire.

Written by David Lawrence

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