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AFC South Prediction

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Indianapolis Colts

Searching for stability, at the quarterback position, 17-year veteran Phillip Rivers delivered during his one-season stop in Indianapolis. The Colts’ ranked 30th overall with 175.8 pass yards per game in 2019. Rivers started all 16 games and Indianapolis finished 11th with 253.3 pass yards per game last year. Much maligned recently, former Philadelphia QB Carson Wentz was expected to start in week 1 but a foot injury will keep him out for the first few weeks.

Indianapolis traded a 2021 third-round draft pick, plus a conditional second-round 2022 draft pick, to the Eagles to acquire Wentz. RB Jonathan Taylor was a 2020 ROY Award candidate after he racked up 1,468 total yards and 12 touchdowns. He will need to be just as good, if not better, for the Colts to top their division.

Keeping the new QB protected in Indy might be a priority this offseason, especially given Wentz’s history of season-ending injuries, so the Colts front office, including GM Chris Ballard and Reich, secured LT Eric Fisher. Colts drafted DE Kwity Paye, DE Dayo Odeyingbo, and as Adam Vinatieri retired they snatched PK Eddy Pineiro.

Tennessee Titans

These Titans are on an upward swing having been to the postseason two seasons in a row now, with HC Mike Vrabel finding wins with reignited QB Ryan Tannehill all while riding on the back and powerful legs of RB Derrick Henry, who keeps leading the league in rushing production.

Like most NFL franchises in 2021, however, Tennessee is facing salary cap challenges and will be forced to makes some tough decisions where some veterans will have to be let go, including talented receiver Corey Davis, who became a free agent and who is no longer a member of the Tennessee Titans.

Shoring up the defense and adding young depth to that side of the ball could be a priority for the Titans front office, so the team drafted CB Caled Farley alongside LB Monty Rice.

Led by RB Derrick Henry, Tennessee was second overall with 168.1 rush yards per game. A stud throughout the season, Henry posted 588 rushing yards and six scores during the Titans 5–0 quick start. He finished with 2,027 yards, plus 17 touchdowns, to earn back-to-back rushing titles. Henry was the lone player to lead his team in rushing during all 16 games. His numbers have increased in each of the last three seasons.

Somewhat overshadowed by Henry, QB Ryan Tannehill posted 3,819 passing yards, with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. The loss of WR Corey Davis, who had 984 receiving yards and five TD, is a void Tennessee had to fill out, but who could be better than veteran WR Julio Jones. Julie will be a great addition to an offense who know boast a fantastic RB with great weapons for QB Ryan Tannehill to throw to.

Titans added EDGE Bud Dupree, EDGE Denico Autry, CB Janoris Jenkins during the off-season. Having lost EDGE Jadeveon Clowney who failed to live to his expectations it is to be expected that Bud Dupree can add some more QB pressures.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Last season, the Jacksonville Jaguars posted a pathetic 1-15 regular-season record, thereby earning them the first pick in the draft overall. But it was worth it, Jags drafted QB Trevor Lawrence, a once-in-a-lifetime type of player with arm strength, accuracy, size, and a football IQ that goes beyond his twenty-one years, cannot alone make up for all that ails this rebuilding Jaguars squad, so expect them to take a few seasons before they can expect to compete in the AFC South. Trevor Lawrence will be the 13th starting QB, over 12 seasons, for Jacksonville Jaguars.

Rookie RB James Robinson was one of just a few bright lights for last season. He played in 14 games and finished with 1,414 total yards and 10 scores. It would have been interesting to see how 2021 draft pick RB Travis Etienne affected Robinson’s workload. But Travis Etienne is likely to miss the season with a foot sprain as of 24th of august. The addition of WR Marvin Jones should help free up some space for DJ Chark Jr. in the passing game.

Defensively Jaguars got a hold of CB Shaquill Griffen who previously played for the Seattle Seahawks. Jaguars resigned LT Cam Robinson so Lawrence should see some help to protect his blindside.

Houston Texans

Nobody is sure why the Houston Texans seem to be self-imploding, but over the last few seasons, they have inexplicably given away their best offensive target, WR DeAndre Hopkins, their best defensive player, DE J.J. Watt. Having Bill O´Brian as both your GM and HC was too much. He did some awful trades where he gave up way too much.

Nobody on the outside is too clear on why there is so much unhappiness in Houston, but now the new head coach David Culley, who was the Ravens assistant head coach and wide receivers coach for the last two seasons, will have to figure out how to bring his crumbling team together.

After their 4-12 season in 2020, the Texans earned the third pick overall, but last year they traded that away to the Dolphins for offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills, though Stills is now a free agent and might not return it just proves the failed trades under Bill O’Brien.

Running the ball was an issue for Houston Texans as they finished second last with 91.6 rushing yards per game. It didn’t help that Houston allowed 416.8 total yards and 29.0 points per game on defense. Deshaun Watson’s legal issues will not affect his ability to play this year.  Whether he is the Texans’ Week 1 starter is still in doubt. To potentially start under center is this year’s draft pick QB Davis Mills with QB Tyrod Taylor also being added to the roster this off-season. The future of Deshaun is still in doubt so having a backup with NFL experience could come in handy.

 

Why Tennessee Titans will win the AFC South this season

In a two-team race from start to finish, Tennessee (11–5) and Indianapolis (11–5) battled for the AFC South championship throughout the season last year. Once the dust settled, the Titans claimed the title; winning a tiebreaker over the Colts based on best win percentage in division games. Both teams would be eliminated during the Wild Card playoff round. With a bit more defensive depth added this offseason, the Tennessee Titans could have what it takes on both sides of the ball to win the AFC South outright. The defining factor will be the injury-prone Carson Wentz. So go ahead and take the Tennessee Titans as the division winner.

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