AFC South Recap and Offseason Guide

NASHVILLE, TN – DECEMBER 06: Running back Leonard Fournette #27 of the Jacksonville Jaguars carries the ball during a NFL game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on December 6, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images)

Onto the next division within the AFC, where we dive into each team’s 2019 season and preparation for the 2020 offseason, we head to the AFC South. This division sent two teams to the playoffs in the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans. The Titans quickly became a fan favorite underdog once in the playoffs, ending the dynasty in New England, then knocking off the Ravens and their seemingly unstoppable offense. The Indianapolis Colts, and NFL fans alike, were shocked when star quarterback Andrew Luck announced retirement less than a month prior to the season, hampering their expectations on the season. The Jacksonville Jaguars are in a bit of a rebuilding mode, after shipping off the high profile cornerback in Jalen Ramsey and struggling to find consistency on offense.

Houston Texans:

Review: The Texans are a team that seems to have a lot of the right pieces in place to make a super bowl run, but always fall flat before even reaching the AFC title game. This year was no different, ending their season after blowing a huge lead to the Chiefs. The offense is built around star quarterback Deshaun Watson, with a plethora of receiving options in Deandre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Kenny Stills. Looking at the offense from a statistical standpoint, the Texans were slightly above average, finishing only 13th in total yards and 14th in points. This data can be misleading however, as if you look at it from the average per drive standpoint, they were 8th and 7th, respectively. The defense was extremely inefficient over the course of the season, allowing less than 20 points just 4 times, while giving up 30 or more points 6 times.

Notable Free Agents: Bradley Roby (CB), Lamar Miller (RB), Johnathan Joseph (CB), Vernon Hargreaves (CB), Barkevious Mingo (LB), Ka’imi Fairbairn (K), Carlos Hyde (RB), DJ Reader (DT), Jon Weeks (LS), Darren Fells (TE)

Needs: CB, RB, OL, TE, LB, DT, K, LS, S

Tennessee Titans:

Review: After starting the season with a 2-4 record, and the offense putting up just 7 points in a span of two weeks, they decided to bench starting quarterback Marcus Mariota in favor of backup Ryan Tannehill. This was the turning point of their season, as they were able to save it just in time to be able to sneak into the playoffs as the final wildcard. Riding on the back of Derrick Henry, they upset the New England Patriots in Foxboro, followed up by beating the top seeded Baltimore Ravens and league MVP Lamar Jackson. The Titans boasted one of the top rushing attacks in the league, finishing 3rd in rush yards and yards per attempt. This was a large factor in converting 75.6% of red zone trips into touchdowns, easily the tops in the league. The defense was solid, without any real stars recognized around the league. They were able to hold teams to 24 points or less on all but 3 games during the season. This helped them always have a chance to pull out a win.

Notable Free Agents: Derrick Henry (RB), Jack Conklin (OT), Ryan Tannehill (QB), Wesley Woodyard (LB), Marcus Mariota (QB), Logan Ryan (CB)

Needs: RB, QB, OT, LB, CB

Indianapolis Colts:

Review: The Colts were left in a bit of a pickle after start quarterback Andrew Luck suddenly retired following a preseason game. The Colts stuck with backup Jacoby Brissett for the season, but an upgrade is certainly desired. They could be a team to look for in a signing veteran quarterback, or drafting a rookie in the upcoming draft. The rest of the offense was solid for the most part, with underrated players in T.Y. Hilton and Marlon Mack. They put together a season with the 7th highest rush yards, yet only being 30th in pass yards. This area clearly needs to improve this upcoming season if they are to make a push for the playoffs. The defense has some foundations in place, but needs improvement. They were miserable on third down this past year, letting up 6th highest percentage of offenses’ conversion rate. They were solid against the run, as they gave up the 7th least rush yards, but were 23rd at stopping the pass.

Notable Free Agents: Anthony Castonzo (OT), Devin Funchess (WR), Jabaal Sheard (DE), Eric Ebron (TE), Adam Vinatieri (K), Clayton Geathers (S)

Needs: QB, WR, TE, K, OT, DE, CB

Jacksonville Jaguars:

Review: The Jaguars season went about as poor as it possibly could have. Quarterback Nick Foles was signed to a big contract to be the starter and bring Jacksonville back to the playoffs, but he was injured in week 1. Rookie Gardner Minshew led the team to a few surprising wins, but he needs a lot of improvement in order to be a reliable starter in the NFL. The offense was led by Leonard Fournette once again, with several solid receivers in DJ Chark, Dede Westbrook, and Chris Conley. As a whole, the offense was extremely average, finishing 16th in pass yards and 17th in rush yards. They need to really improve on being able to score, as they were the 2nd worst in the league with a 40.4% of converting in the red zone. The defense could use some help in the secondary, as they have traded away starting cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye within the past year. The run defense also had a lot to be desired, allowing the 5th most rush yards in the league.

Notable Free Agents: Yannik Ngakoue (DE)

Needs: CB, S, TE, LB

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