Predictions for the 2020 AFC South – Betting Odds and Analysis for Each Team
The Houston Texans have their work cut out for them if they plan on winning the AFC South for the third straight year. Not only did each of their counterparts seemingly improve during the offseason, but it appears that the Texans have taken a step back.
The good news is Deshaun Watson is still in command, J.J. Watt is healthy, and David Johnson is motivated to prove the doubters wrong.
Does Bill O’Brien have enough talent in place to carry the division torch, or will the Texans head coach be on the hot seat by season’s end?
Before I get into my AFC South predictions, let’s glance at the pricing.
AFC South Division Odds for 2020
The top NFL betting sites have a lot of faith in Philip Rivers. Houston won this division a year ago while the Titans wound up in the AFC Championship game, yet it’s the Colts who have been installed as the favorites.
Indy wasn’t terrible last year (7-9) by any means, and pegging them to win the division in 2020 has plenty of merit.
The question is if there’s enough upside to make the bet worthwhile.
Analyzing the AFC South Teams
The Colts and Titans seem to be pretty neck and neck at the top, although counting the Texans out is probably a mistake.
Should we be writing the Jaguars off?
Before you make your AFC South prediction or place any bets in this market, here’s a look at some expectations.
No more DeAndre Hopkins means Deshaun Watson is going to have to be more creative than ever before. Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb were acquired to help curb Hopkins’ loss, but taking away Watson’s safety blanket is something that could sting for a while.
A healthy J.J. Watt can do wonders, and the hope is that second-round pick Ross Blacklock can replace D.J. Reader (4-year/$53 million deal with the Bengals) in the middle of the defensive line.
Nevertheless, you can argue that Bill O’Brien completely botched the offseason.
Not only was the DeAndre Hopkins trade a total head-scratcher, but the Texans are one of the teams that failed to deliver in the draft.
The Titans have a lot to overcome in order to get back to playoffs, let alone the AFC title game. Securing Ryan Tannehill was important, while draft picks Isaiah Wilson (OT) and Kristian Fulton (CB) are guys who can step in right away and make a difference.
The problem is allocating $118 million into Tannehill’s bank account meant not extending the contracts of several valuable pieces. From Jack Conklin and Jurrell Casey to Delanie Walker and Dion Lewis, the Titans waved goodbye to a lot of familiar faces. We don’t even know where Logan Ryan will sign; we just know he won’t be back in Nashville.
Fortunately, Derrick Henry will be, and A.J. Brown is a serious up-and-comer.
If Frank Reich can get steady play out of Philip Rivers, there’s no reason the Colts shouldn’t claim the AFC South crown in the upcoming year. Chris Ballard signed Xavier Rhodes, traded for DeForest Bucker, then went out and crushed the 2020 NFL Draft.
Indy already had the foundation set to be a contender in the AFC, and now they get a trio of rookies who will provide impacts right away. Offensive weapons Michael Pittman and Jonathan Taylor are major additions to Nick Sirianni’s unit, and it won’t take long for Julian Blackmon to carve out his role as a safety.
All in all, grabbing hold of the Colts at +160 at MyBookie is an NFL futures bet we all can get excited about.
Jaguars GM David Caldwell hasn’t received enough credit for what he accomplished in the 2020 NFL Draft. C.J. Henderson and K’Lavon Chaisson are top 20 picks that will immediately boost the defense. Davon Hamilton is a big-bodied defensive tackle who can wreak havoc.
The Jags lured Joe Schobert away from Cleveland on a five-year deal ($53.75 million) and still have Yannick Ngakoue on their roster.
Getting Laviska Shenault at #42 was one of the biggest steals in the draft, and inking Tyler Eifert gives Gardner Minshew the red-zone target he was lacking. Stating that Jacksonville will threaten to win this division might be a bit misleading, but Jaguars at least appear to be heading in the right direction.
Who Will Win the AFC South in 2020?
My AFC South prediction starts and ends with the Indianapolis Colts. Of course, a lot of that hinges on Philip Rivers being effective, but I have solace knowing the bond between Rivers and Reich has already been established.
Phillip had some of his best seasons as a professional during his time working alongside Reich (2013-2015), including leading the NFL in competition percentage during the only season Frank served as the Chargers’ quarterbacks coach.
Until further notice, I stand by the Colts as my AFC South pick in 2020.
More NFL Division Odds and Predictions
Want to dive into more NFL Division betting previews?