The AFC South was a two-horse race in 2020, with the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans vying for the top spot. The Titans prevailed to win the South, and both teams likely covered their Over/Under for the season.
Here in 2021, you can expect the same from the Colts and Titans. And perhaps they’ll do more than just make a simple playoff appearance. Yes, if you’re betting futures and you like either of these 2 teams, step up to the plate. But don’t count out those pesky Jacksonville Jaguars. Along with a vibrant head coach in Urban Meyer, along with the greatest prospect since John Elway coming about in Trevor Lawrence and building blocks already in place, the Jags can make a run.
Today’s post discusses the futures outlook for every AFC South team in 2021, beginning with the underdog, the Houston Texans. Let’s get to it.
Houston Texans 2021 Futures Outlook
Here’s what we know about the Texans: it would take a miracle in NFL Lore for Deshaun Watson to suit up in 2021. Not only is he unhappy as a Texan and has demanded to cut ties with the franchise; he’s facing potentially serious charges if the 22 lawsuits he’s facing lead to something.
As if this franchise hasn’t been through enough, they also hired an unlikely candidate in David Culley. Culley has been little more than a positional coach and passing game coordinator during his time in the NFL.
General Manager Nick Caserio has done the best he could trying to put something together, but things look bleak. He signed Tyrod Taylor as a consolation and may bring in Alex Smith if Watson isn’t available. Two journeymen for a star quarterback have already doomed this season.
Other additions include Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay, Andre Roberts, Donte Moncrief, and Alex Erickson.
Other than Lindsay, none of the above backs and receivers bring much interest here. And going down the list, Houston has nothing but cast-offs coming in. Christian Kirksey, Tavierre Thomas, and Terrance Mitchell are coming in to play the same role they played in Cleveland:
To be sitting ducks until a real group of Houston Texans arrive. Going down the free agency list, on both offense and defense, the 2021 Houston Texans look like an NFL Expansion Team. Heck, the 2002 version of this team would probably beat them.
But then again. Even Watson couldn’t save the situation in 2020, when the Texans finished with a 4-12 record.
Futures Outlook for the Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts pulled off one of the hottest trades of the offseason when they traded for former Philadelphia Eagle, Carson Wentz. Wentz struggled in Philadelphia, and he never quite looked like the same player after he tore his ACL.
Or maybe it was because his former offensive coordinator took the head coaching gig with the Colts?
Now, Wentz is once again working for his old buddy, Frank Reich.
The man who we can give credit led Wentz to an MVP-like campaign in 2017, en route to the Eagles’ first Super Bowl Championship.
Better yet, the Colts have a lot of firepower around Wentz. They put together a three-headed rushing attack with Jonathan Taylor, Marlon Mack, and Nyheim Hines. Taylor is your bell cow, Mack is a good change of pace runner, and Hines is phenomenal in the passing game.
If the Colts can find a legitimate WR1 in the NFL Draft, they’re legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Sure, the Reich-Wentz reunion is legit enough. But defenses win championships, and the Colts have one that will take them the distance.
All they need is the 2021 version of Justin Jefferson (first-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings in 2020).
There is no such thing as a shoo-in futures bet in terms of a team winning the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl. Everyone is a risk here. However, some bets make more sense than others, and the Colts fit that criteria.
They are a more sensible futures bet to win the AFC South and perhaps even earn a trip to their first Super Bowl in over a decade. But not if the final 2 teams in the division have something to say about it.
Jacksonville Jaguars Futures Outlook
The Jacksonville Jaguars accomplished something for the first time since the 2001 Carolina Panthers. They won their first game of the season and lost 15 straight. Most of which weren’t even close. Gardner Minshew pulled off his best impression of Chris Weinke, and the defense sputtered.
Now, Urban Meyer takes over in the driver’s seat.
The clear downside is that Meyer has never coached a single down of professional football. The upside is his limitless potential. If Meyer can make a successful transition to the NFL level, you’re looking at a potential dynasty.
The Jaguars will look to do what their expansion brethren did: Earn a trip to the Super Bowl not long after their fateful 1-15 season. Only they hope to do so a year ahead of time.
What you can expect is a vastly improved football team from the previous season. This team will have Trevor Lawrence, D.J. Chark, James Robinson, and Laviska Shenault manning the quarterback, running back, and wide receiver positions. Not a bad group in the slightest.
They also signed guys like Carlos Hyde, Phillip Dorsett, Marvin Jones, Cam Robinson, and Shaquill Griffin, among other key players. It seems like everyone wants to play for Meyer and rock out in the teal and black that makes the Jaguars one of the NFL’s most unique franchises.
At most, you can put a bet on them to sneak into the playoffs. But again, expect little.
Tennessee Titans Futures Outlook
Finally, we will revert to the Tennessee Titans. The Titans won the division in 2020, and their system on offense was once again one of the best in the league. And listen, this team would have contended for the Super Bowl if their defense was up to scratch.
Unfortunately, they had one of the worst in football in 2020. But the front office has called upon the cavalry to keep that from happening again in 2021.
Bud Dupree from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dupree established himself as one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers during the first few seasons of his career. He takes his talents to Nashville and will immediately help upgrade the defense.
They also added the well-traveled but serviceable Janoris Jenkins to help in the secondary.
Sure, the Titans still need a king’s ransom of players on defense, so look for them to fill a few more holes during the NFL Draft.
However, the Titans, on paper, look second-fiddle to the Colts. They’re still a solid futures bet for the Over/Under and even a playoff appearance. However, it’s premature to believe that they will accomplish anything more than another one-and-done season unless they find more defensive help.
The offense is there, and it will be once again in 2021. But the defense will remain a thorn in this team’s side for the foreseeable future. However, they played the Colts well and beat them to the AFC South crown in 2020.
The AFC South might morph into a three-horse race. But it probably will end up with the Titans and Colts going at it once more for the AFC South championship.
- The Colts hold a slight advantage on paper, but the Titans have history on their side.
- The Jaguars are probably a year away from becoming serious futures bets in the division and the Texans’ talent mirrors that of an expansion team.
Are you betting on the Colts or Titans, or do you feel the Jaguars will shock the NFL universe at the online sportsbooks? Tell us your thoughts in the comments and we are looking forward to reading your opinion.