If you have been reading Battle Red Blog’s 2020 AFC South Preview, which comes to a close on Monday with a Houston Texans season preview, and/or listening to Battle Red Radio’s 2020 AFC South Preview, you already know everyone feels the same way about this division. The Texans, Titans, and Colts are all expected to compete for the division title; each of those teams is expected to finish somewhere around 9-7, with the Jaguars drinking Steel Reserve High Gravities in the cellar with a record around 5-11. This season, like most seasons, the AFC South won’t be great, but it will be interesting and enjoyable, and that’s all we care about around here.
Pro Football Focus delved into some hot AFC South analysis by power-ranking each division. They had the AFC South ranked sixth, ahead of the AFC East and NFC East. This is what they had to say.
6. AFC SOUTH
Average team win total: 7.93 (6th)
Average team ELO ranking: 1493 (6th)
It would be a surprise if the Jacksonville Jaguars come out of the 2020 NFL season as AFC South champs, but it wouldn’t be a big surprise if any of the other three teams did.
The Tennessee Titans are the favorites after making a run to the 2019 AFC Championship Game. Ryan Tannehill will have to show that the 2019 season wasn’t a one-year mirage because it’s him — not Derrick Henry — who was the catalyst in their offensive improvement.
The Houston Texans are dealing with several notable losses, the biggest of which is DeAndre Hopkins, but they still have Deshaun Watson, and that gives them a chance. The impact of a healthy J.J. Watt also shouldn’t be discounted, as he showed early last season that he is still easily one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in the NFL.
The team that I’m higher on than many, though, is the Indianapolis Colts. Opinions of the Colts were high running into the 2019 season, but Andrew Luck’s retirement and the ensuing shaky play from Jacoby Brissett put a halt to that optimism. Even if he doesn’t come out like the Philip Rivers we saw in 2018, this version of Rivers behind the Colts’ offensive line should be a nice upgrade. Defensively, the addition of DeForest Buckner will help along the defensive line, too.
What do you think? Is the AFC South disrespected like Deshaun Watson? Or is sixth a fair spot for a confusing division filled with talent and question marks?