Below we predict how each team in the AFC South will fare when the 2020 NFL season kicks off in, what we assume will be, September.
Prediction: AFC South 2020 Standings
1. Houston Texans (2019 record 10-6)
The AFC South will be a dogfight again this season with no team owning a clear-cut advantage. Bill O’Brien scares me as head coach, DeShaun Watson is the best quarterback in the division but needs better protection as evidenced by his combined 55 sacks in the regular and postseason.
If the corpse of David Johnson can be resurrected and the offensive line improves around anchor Laremy Tunsil then there is solid value over at BetOnline as they are offering the Texans at +300 to win the division, the third choice behind Indianapolis (+125), and Tennessee (+175) in their NFL props.
Lots of ifs and buts to be sure, however, the other teams vying for AFC South supremacy are not any better so why not take the value being offered at three to one on your money?
2020 Prediction: 10-6
2. Indianapolis Colts (2019 record 7-9)
Many of the pundits are high on the Colts because they signed 38-year-old Phillip Rivers out LA. But the truth of the matter is that Rivers was not great last year and I don’t suspect he will be any better in the twilight of his rather illustrious career.
Nevertheless, they did a decent job in the draft by snagging Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor in the second round and getting tremendous value with Washington QB Jacob Eason in the fourth. The Colts were without a first-round pick as they dealt the No. 13 overall to the 49ers for defensive stalwart DeForest Buckner.
The Colts will own a better defense than last season but Phillip Rivers is not the panacea for a stagnant Indy offense and they are being overvalued because of him. If we take a look at the NFL odds being offered at BetOnline we see that the season total is 9 (O-125) which means we can go low and lay just -105. That’s the plan, bet Colts under 9 regular-season wins in your NFL picks.
2020 Prediction: 8-8
3. Tennessee Titans (2019 record 9-7)
I realize fans in the Music City are all jazzed up about the Titans after the stunning postseason run that took them to the AFC Championship. However, I’m sorry to say that Nashville will be singing the blues after this season is over because I don’t see the Titans catching lightning in a bottle two years in a row.
They lost trusted veteran offensive lineman Jack Conklin to the Browns and now expect their first-round pick, Georgia’s Isaiah Wilson, to fill either his spot on the right side or even the blindside at some point. Conklin’s injuries began to mount which gave the Titans a reason to look in another direction but they will miss his aggressiveness in the trenches as well as veteran defensive lineman Jurrell Casey on the other side of the ball.
Derrick Henry is the real deal but I’m not sold on the new and improved Ryan Tannehill making it happen after signing a megadeal with the Titans after an impressive 2019 campaign.
2020 Prediction: 7-9
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (2019 record 6-10)
The Jags are now just three seasons removed from their AFC title tilt with the Patriots and their fall from grace has been stunning, compiling an 11-21 record over the past two seasons. They don’t have a bona fide quarterback unless you believe Gardner Minshew is something he’s clearly not – a legitimate starter.
There is nothing about this roster that will make you even remotely optimistic about Jacksonville’s chances this season. However, the silver lining to all of this was that their draft was actually very good.
They shored up their defense with the second-best corner in the draft in Florida’s CJ Henderson at No. 9 and then picked up LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson at No. 20 to put some dynamite in their pass rush. They got a gift when Colorado’s wide receiver Laviska Shenault fell to them in the second round. It’s a good foundation but one that will need to be augmented in next year’s draft.
2020 Prediction: 4-12