It’s a foursome that has sent two teams to the postseason for four consecutive years. But it’s also been more than a decade since a member of the AFC South reached the Super Bowl. And two of the franchises have never made their way to the “Big Game.” In 2020, defense was at a premium when it came to the majority of this quartet.
Hence, it’s Part 5 of a look around the eight NFL divisions as the new fiscal year approaches.
NOTE: 2020 win-loss records include playoffs
Tennessee Titans (11-6)
The team won the AFC South for the first time since 2008. Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry lead an explosive attack but the defense disappointed. The lack of a pass rush (19 sacks) was one reason only three teams in the NFL allowed more passing yards. Veteran defensive backs Malcolm Butler and Kenny Vaccaro were released and the search is on for help when it comes to putting heat on opposing quarterbacks.
Indianapolis Colts (11-6)
Once again, head coach Frank Reich inherits a quarterback he used to work with from a previous employer. A year ago it was veteran free agent Philip Rivers and now via trade, Carson Wentz comes over from Philadelphia. This may be the division’s most balanced team with Quenton Nelson leading the offensive line and linebacker Darius Leonard spearheading the defense. But who replaces retired left tackle Anthony Costanzo?
Houston Texans (4-12)
While this offseason is filled with plenty of speculation and theories regarding quarterback Deshaun Watson, new head coach David Culley’s biggest concern is rebuilding the NFL’s 30th-ranked defense and the NFL’s worst unit vs. the run from 2020. Veteran end J.J. Watt and inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney are now elsewhere while the Texans add linebacker Christian Kirksey and dealt for defensive end, Shaq Lawson.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15)
First-time NFL head coach Urban Meyer inherits a team that has dropped three times as many contests (36) as it has won (12) since 2018. The Jaguars also bring a 15-game losing streak into ’21. Both sides of the ball need to be upgraded and it starts at quarterback. Who will this team actually select with the first overall pick in April? Opinions are starting to vary and Trevor Lawrence may no longer be the clear-cut favorite.