The Tennessee Titans are seeking a third consecutive AFC South title, They’re not getting the oddsmakers respect of a two-time champion.
The Titans are the second choice, according to AFC South Division futures markets, priced at +145 to win the division. Favored to win the AFC South are…drum roll….the Indianapolis Colts, at a less-than-even-money -115.
This isn’t anything new, as it feels the Titans are overlooked going into each season. Then, they prove the skeptics wrong with their no-nonsense brand of football.
The AFC South is bring tipped as a two-horse race. Rightly or wrongly, It might also lean towards the Colts instead of the Titans. That doesn’t mean a thing. Markets don’t always have it right, and as a result, the Titans may well be the value NFL picks
We weigh in on the AFC South, and examine the NFL odds for the four franchises vying to take down the title..
Current Odds to win AFC South
- Indianapolis Colts -115
- Tennessee Titans +145
- Jacksonville Jaguars +700
- Houston Texans +2500
Indianapolis Colts (-115)
The last time the Indianapolis Colts won the AFC South was in 2014. That’s now seven seasons that have come and gone without glory.
Take last season, where the Colts were primed to make a run for the title, or so the NFL odds suggested. Carson Wentz then spectacularly failed to meet expectations, leading to the Colts to cut their losses and trade the Philadelphia Eagles’ castoff. Indianapolis finished the season with a 9-8 record, then missed the playoffs.
The Colts brought in veteran quarterback Matt Ryan to replace Wentz, inheriting a very good team, on paper. Some might go so far as to say it’s a “championship-ready” team in Indy.
How (or if) Ryan and the Colts adjust and gel together is going to be a major factor in delivering on their short-priced odds.
There’s the advantage of the winnability of this weak division. Outside of the Titans, the Colts really have no competition. That’s something Ryan’s and Colts’ fans on which can hang their hats. The Colts also have the 26th- toughest (or the sixth-easiest) schedule in the league, according to Strength of Schedule rankings.
Then, there’s some recent history. Veteran quarterbacks have enjoyed great success in their first seasons with new teams. Tom Brady (2020) and Matthew Stafford (2021) come to mind.
Tennessee Titans (+145)
The Tennessee Titans defied the critics to win the AFC South, and without star running back Derrick Henry for the better part of the season. They weren’t able to carry the momentum into the postseason, though, Tennessee lost, 19-16, to the Bengals in the wild-card round.
Tennessee’s disappointing playoff ouster aside, Mike Vrabel was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year. He was chosen with 36 of the nationwide panel’s 50 votes.
The Titans’ consistency is a reflection of Vrabel’s solid, common-sense approach to coaching. The Titans have made the playoffs the last three seasons since Vrabel switched to Ryan Tannehill as his quarterback. They’ve also won back-to-back titles in the AFC South. Much is being made about the Titans drafting Malik Willis with the 86th overall pick, It’s unlikely they’ll turn to the rookie this season.
This is the Titans’ division to lose now. There’s a favorable schedule (24th in NFL Strength of Schedule rankings) and the least amount of turmoil in the offseason, besides losing A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles, that is.
Brown’s departure obviously is not great but isn’t the be-all and end-all of this team.
For instance, a lot was made of Henry’s injury last season, to the point many forecast doom and gloom in Titanland. However, in workmanlike fashion, Vrabel and the Titans adapted, buckled down to another South title.
Expect the same now. This is a team that’s bigger than one player. Rather they are the sum total of all their parts.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+700)
Trevor Lawrence, No.1 pick in the 2021 NFL draft, indeed was one of the most-hyped quarterback prospects in quite some time. “A generational talent,” they said. “A once-in-a-lifetime quarterback,” they said. “A coach’s envy,” they said.
Said were a lot of things, but when push came to shove, Lawrence didn’t do a lot of winning, and Jacksonville finished at the bottom of the AFC South at a woeful 3-14.
Epic fail in 2021, but why? Well, some of it was a porous roster. Jacksonville was embarking on its rebuild and missing skill in all three phases of the game.
Some of it was at the feet of now-deposed head coach Urban Meyer, who wasn’t used to, or useful, in the NFL. So, Meyer’s below-the-bar performance off the field became a distraction as well, ultimately sealing his fate. He didn’t get to the 14th game of the season.
While still in rebuild mode, Jacksonville turned to Doug Pederson, formerly in charge of the Philadelphia Eagles, as the new coach. He is well-liked, respected, and brings Super Bowl-winning experience that is going to benefit a young, burgeoning team in the Jags.
There’s room for optimism with the Jaguars. They should be better in 2022. Winning a division might be a bit much.
Houston Texans (+2500)
Unless you’ve been living under rocks, you know why the Houston Texans are the dunces of the AFC South. You’ll also know that wagering on the Texans is likely an exercise in futility, again.
Newly-minted head coach Lovie Smith is widely-respected in the game. Aside from Lovie, however, who else is there? Possible name a player on this roster? Anyone? Just one? For laughs?
This is an organization that’s had as tumultuous a two-season sequence of any franchise, with dysfunction to spare. The troubling times are not over. Things are seemingly going from bad to worse here,
— Brandon Little (@BrandonLittleFB) June 8, 2022
The unknowns extend beyond this roster as well. It’s not just about the quality and skill (or lack thereof) of their players. The problems run very deep. Let’s not forget the ongoing Deshaun Watson saga, which hangs like a dark cloud over the franchise. The ramifications are bound to be far-reaching, extensive, and enduring in Houston.