NFL: Taking a Peek Inside and Predicting the AFC South
The AFC South might be the best division in the AFC heading into the 2019 NFL Season. The Houston Texans won that division for the third time in five years last season. Can Houston repeat as the AFC South champions or will someone else win that division?
1. Tennessee Titans (11-5)
The Tennessee Titans have one of the best rosters not only in the AFC South but in the NFL. The biggest issue with this team is the quarterback position. As of right now, Marcus Mariota will be the starter. Nevertheless, he could very well be on a short leash this upcoming season. Ryan Tannehill was acquired in a trade this past offseason from the Miami Dolphins. Tannehill has looked good during the preseason. Tennessee has one of the best offensive line and defensive line combinations in the division and the NFL. Derrick Henry could potentially have a very big year in the backfield this season. This could be the Titans deepest receiving core in a while. They drafted wide receiver A.J. Brown in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft and he could pop right away. Corey Davis is also ready to make noise in his second season as well. Tight end Delanie Walker is ready to bounce back after being injured last season. Jonnu Smith could also be reliable at tight end. They will be the favorites, in my opinion, because Andrew Luck decided to retire.
2. Houston Texans (7-9)
The Texans won the AFC South in 2018. Even though the Houston Texans have Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, and J.J. Watt, 2019 will be worse than last season. They did not impress me at all down the stretch. Houston fired their general manager and they have other internal issues. The Texans did not do anything in the offseason to improve the offensive line or the secondary. I would not be surprised to see Watson take a beating this season and have another major injury. I could see Bill O’Brien lose his head coaching job once the season is over. Jadeveon Clowney seems to have no interest in playing for the Houston Texans anymore and he is a key part of their defense. Houston will win a couple of more games than I thought they would because of Andrew Luck retiring for Indianapolis.
3.Indianapolis Colts (5-11)
The Indianapolis Colts were going to be the best team in the AFC South in 2019. However, quarterback Andrew Luck abruptly retired on Saturday night. Jacoby Brissett will become the starting quarterback. Chad Kelly and Phillip Walker are competing for the backup job. Indianapolis made it to the playoffs last season after a 1-5 start. They won a playoff game against the Houston Texans on the road before falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round. The Colts defense is also a lot better. Defensive Coordinator Matt Eberflus drew some interests for head coaching jobs during the offseason. Darius Leonard won AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year last season as well. They also have three solid tailbacks in the backfield in Jordan Wilkins, Marlon Mack, and Nyheim Hines. With the absence of Luck, Indianapolis will try to stay around .500. Although it probably won’t happen. Therefore, they are going to have to draft a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11)
The Jacksonville Jaguars had a rough 2018 campaign after making it to the AFC Championship Game the season before. Jacksonville decided to move on from Blake Bortles at the quarterback position. Nick Foles will be the new starting quarterback this season. Leonard Fournette will be the starting running back. I feel like Foles will not have the weapons on the outside as he did in Philadelphia. The Jaguars could very well be in for another long season. Jacksonville’s defense could get tired once again. They may not finish in last in the division because they made enough moves in the offseason to be a better football team. However, the odds are high that Jacksonville might likely wind up in the cellar of the once again this season. Thus putting Head Coach Doug Marrone‘s job at risk.
How do you see the AFC South playing out? Would you move any of these teams around? Leave a comment below.
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Follow Glenn on Twitter @glennkaplan13.