NFL AFC South 2019 Season Preview

Author
by Chris Feery
August 28th 2019, 7:37am

The sudden retirement of Andrew Luck has flipped the NFL world on its collective head.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in the odds to win the AFC South. Prior to the announcement, the Indianapolis Colts were favored to win the division.

After the news broke, the Colts odds plummeted while the other three teams rose. Let’s take a closer look at the division for 2019.

AFC South Winner

Favorite to Win the AFC South

Houston Texans

For the biggest beneficiaries of the retirement of Luck, we need to look no further than the Texans.

After being hammered by the Colts in last year’s postseason, it was looking like a changing of the guard would be happening atop the division.

DeShaun Watson

Now, Houston is favored to repeat as division champs. However, they have their own questions to answer. The backfield could suddenly be very thin after the injury to Lamar Miller, while the defense needs some major improvement in the secondary. 

The Texans deserve to be favored to win the division, but we don’t see them running away with it.

Texans Wins

A contender to Watch in the AFC South

Jacksonville Jaguars

Nick Foles

The Jaguars made it to the AFC title game after the 2017 season, but the team would follow that up by woefully underperforming a season ago.

The team was able to nab Nick Foles to line up behind center in free agency, so perhaps he’ll be the one to help get something going on offense.

Nick Foles Season Pass Yards

The defense remains loaded with talent, and Jacksonville added another big piece in the draft. Kentucky’s Josh Allen unexpectedly fell into their laps, and the team was quick to pounce. He’s a potential Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate. 

If the offense can show some life under Nick Foles, the Jaguars could be right back to be a team in the hunt.

Jags Wins Over/Under

Jags Make Playoffs?

The Rest of the AFC South

Tennessee Titans 

In general discussions of the AFC South, the Titans are being dismissed as one of the other teams in the division. There’s a lot more to see here. While the team may not be flashy, it’s one that plays hard and brings more to the table than the sum of its parts.

Marcus Mariota

Marcus Mariota may be facing a make or break year. The team needs to find out whether or not he’s a franchise signal-caller.

Derrick Henry impressed in the backfield last season, and the arrow is pointing up. As for the defense, it’s much more stout than what the overall stats may suggest.  

Tennessee is a dark horse for the division title or a Wild Card berth. 

Titans Season Wins

Indianapolis Colts

In the span of a few hours, the Colts went from a club that had a realistic chance of making some noise in the AFC to one which isn’t a lock to break .500.

Andrew Luck Retires

Jacoby Brissett is suddenly the starting QB in Indianapolis, and expectations have been muted as a result.

Colts Season Wins

He is perhaps one of the top backup signal-callers in the league, and he also did a fine job when he was thrust into duty when Luck went down to injury a couple of seasons ago. That said, it’s a big dropoff.

Marlon Mack shows signs of being back on the rise, while the defense impressed mightily late last year. 

Fortunes have changed quickly for the Colts, but the team could still be competitive if the focus is properly shifted.

Colts Make Playoffs?

Bottom Line on the AFC South

Prior to the Luck retirement, we were concurring with the betting marketplace and looking to the Colts as likely AFC North champs. Now, we see the division as much more open.

In the end, we like the Titans to surprise and take it down in what should be a competitive division race.