Here is the AFC South installment of an eight-part series sharing five predictions for each division in the NFL.
Gardner Minshew will be more impressive in Year 2
While defensively this team has been largely imploded with just about every veteran on the move, the offense will have Gardner Minshew and the same nucleus at the skill positions that it did a season ago. While Minshew’s sophomore season will be another magical one, the defense may cause him and the offense to play from behind more often than not. As was displayed in his rookie campaign, you can never count this team out when he has the ball in his hand.
Deshaun Watson will struggle without DeAndre Hopkins
The Texans’ signal-caller benefitted from the hands and catching ability of Hopkins at critical times in a game. As a quarterback who likes to move in the pocket and throw on the run, his accuracy isn’t always spot on. While a receiver can be replaced, someone will have to step in as Watson’s security blanket.
Philip Rivers will look like a different quarterback in Indy
While the veteran quarterback is in the tail end of his career, the Colts’ offense may be one that Rivers can benefit from. Indianapolis has a solid core on offense along with an offensive line that can keep him upright. The football world will still see a handful of head-scratching throws from Rivers, though.
Derrick Henry will win a second straight rushing title
The Titans’ running back is the reigning NFL rushing title winner. A majority of those yards came in the second half of the season with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. With Tannehill under center in Week 1, expect an even bigger rushing yard total in addition to more rushing touchdowns.
The division champs will be…
For the first time in 12 years, there will be a home playoff game at Nissan Stadium. Last season’s Cinderella Wild Card team, the Titans, pulled off a pair of playoff upsets against the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens and will win the AFC South in 2020 by posting a double-digit win total. The Colts and Texans will be in contention for a playoff spot and as long as their defense can keep them in games, the Jaguars could sneak into that conversation, too.