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AFC South: Win Totals and Record Predictions for Colts, Jaguars, Texans, and Titans

by May 17, 2020

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The NFL schedule was released and one way to make a decent coin is betting on your favorite team’s projected win totals entering the season.

You can find some good value on NFL win total props following the draft and before any more trades happen or any season-altering injuries. In this article, I focus on an AFC South division that has one of the toughest schedules in the league this season.

Each team will have a breakdown of the 2020 season and what to expect with their schedule, returners, newcomers, my over/under win total pick and record prediction. Let’s kick it off with the defending South-champs, the Houston Texans.

Find consensus odds and over/unders for all teams’ win totals using BettingPros Team Future Lines >>

Houston Texans

  • 2019 Record: 10-6
  • 2020 Strength of Schedule: 132-123-1 (.518%) – Tied-8th Toughest
  • 2020 Win Total: Over 7.5 (+100) / Under 7.5 (-120)

If you were looking for some offseason memes, you probably found Bill O’Brien on a couple, and deservingly so. Trading franchise-altering talent is never easy, but not receiving anything sure-fire in return makes it a little harder to get better.

DeAndre Hopkins is now an Arizona Cardinal, and the Texans added depth to the wide receiver position shortly after his departure. Deshaun Watson now has Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller, Randall Cobb, and Kenny Stills out wide, Darren Fells at tight end with Duke Johnson and David Johnson as the likely starting running back receiving him from the Hopkins trade.

It’s not apparent whether the team as a whole believes in O’Brien, but they back Watson and J.J. Watt, and that was obvious in their playoff comeback over the Bills.

Houston has an average defense set in place for 2020 but built a solid starting secondary. Gareon Conley and Bradley Roby are a nice combination at the cornerback position with Vernon Hargraves III as the nickel and Justin Reid as a respectable safety.

The front seven is average at best, but if Watt is unable to stay healthy for the third time in four years, they’ll be vulnerable. Their 2019 defense allowed the 28th-most yards (388.3), 29th in passing yards (267.3), 25th in rushing yards (121.1), and 19th in points per game (24.1).

The 2020 schedule will provide early challenges and I expect the toughness of their schedule is going to get to them early and we’ll see the true Houston team come out under O’Brien.

Week 1 At Chiefs, TNF Chiefs win Week 10 At Browns Browns win
Week 2 Vs Ravens Ravens win Week 11 Vs Patriots Patriots win
Week 3 At Steelers Steelers win Week 12 At Lions, TNF Lions win
Week 4 Vs Vikings Texans win Week 13 Vs Colts Texans win
Week 5 Vs Jaguars Texans win Week 14 At Bears Bears win
Week 6 At Titans Texans win Week 15 At Colts  Colts win
Week 7 Vs Packers Packers win Week 16 Vs Bengals Texans win
Week 9 At Jaguars Jaguars win Week 17 Vs Titans Titans win

2020 Record Prediction: 5-11
The Texans are going to quit in 2020. This will be the year Bill O’Brien’s tenure starts to unravel and the player’s attitudes start spilling over. A lot of that opinion stems from his trades, cuts, and the schedule. On the road, Houston won’t catch many brakes going to Kansas City to start the season, to Detroit on Thanksgiving, to Pittsburgh Week 3 after the Chiefs and Ravens (home), then to Cleveland and Chicago in the winter months.

Through the first eight games, Houston’s only chance to be 4-4 is to beat Minnesota, Tennesee, and Jacksonville twice. I simply don’t see it happening and the rest of the season won’t be a walk in the park for a team that’s going to rely heavily on Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt to get the job done.

An 8-8 season seems a little too unlikely in Houston with this schedule.

The Pick: Under 7.5 (-120) at FanDuel Sportsbook

Tennessee Titans

  • 2019 Record: 9-7
  • 2020 Strength of Schedule: 127-128-1 (0.498%) – T-20th Toughest
  • 2020 Win Total (FanDuel): Over 8.5 (-110) / Under 8.5 (-110)

The Titans took control of their destiny last season exploring Ryan Tannehill after Marcus Mariota’s five-year tenure came to end Week 6 in Denver. Since then the Titans made the switch, Tannehill went 7-3 as a starter and guided them to playoff wins versus the Patriots and Ravens on the road, before losing in the AFC Championship to the eventual Super Bowl champion, Kansas City Chiefs.

Tannehill is locked up for four years, Henry is tagged for this season, and the defense made changes cutting Cameron Wake and trading Jurrell Casey to Denver. One terrific addition was LB/EDGE Vic Beasley from Atlanta and CB Kristian Fulton in the draft.

The Titans defense ranked 12th in points per game (20.7) and rushing yards per game (104.5) but struggled against the pass finishing 24th (255.0). A secondary of CBs Adoree Jackson, Malcolm Butler, Kristian Fulton, Jonathan Joseph, FS Kevin Byard, and SS Kenny Vaccaro should wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.

This could be the final year Henry is a Titan and if so, expect him to grind for that guaranteed contract some of his counterparts have earned in recent years. Henry led the league in carries (303), rushing yards (1,540), and tied-1st in rushing touchdowns (16) in the final season of his rookie deal and earned a franchise tag in favor of a four-year deal for Tannehill.

How that impacts this season and the offense will shape the AFC South race. A.J. Brown, Corey Davis, and Adam Humphries are viable options, but without Henry, teams should be able to take away two of the three. In 2020, the Titans schedule features tough road matches, but a strong start and finish seem likely under Tannehill’s command.

Week 1 At Broncos Titans win Week 10 Vs Colts Titans win
Week 2 Vs Jaguars Titans win Week 11 At Ravens Ravens win
Week 3 At Vikings Titans win Week 12 At Colts Colts win
Week 4 Vs Steelers Titans win Week 13 Vs Browns Titans win
Week 5 Vs Bills Bills win Week 14 At Jaguars Titans win
Week 6 Vs Texans Texans win Week 15 Vs Lions Titans win
Week 8 At Bengals Titans win Week 16 At Packers Titans win
Week 9 Vs Bears Bears win Week 17 At Texans Titans win

2020 Record Prediction: 11-5

The Titans have a tough six-game stretch to start the season before a bye week and I fully expect them to come out swinging if Henry doesn’t holdout. Tannehill and co. will have to overcome a tough and newly renovated Broncos team in Denver Week 1, the same team that ultimately ended the Mariota era springing, Tannehill, in 2019.

Tennessee has a few favorable two-and-three games stretches with the Bengals and Bears out the bye week, and Browns, Jaguars, and Lions Weeks 13-15. If they can go 5-3 or better at home like predicted, they should be well on their way to a 9-win season or better.

The Pick: Over 8.5 (-110) on FanDuel Sportsbook

Indianapolis Colts

  • 2019 Record: 7-9
  • 2020 Strength of Schedule: 128-127-1 (0.502%) – 16th toughest
  • 2020 Win Total (FanDuel): Over 8.5 (-160) / Under 8.5 (+135)

What an offseason the Colts have put together. Philip Rivers signed a one-year $25 million deal, traded for DE DeForest Buckner from the 49ers, and signed CB Xavier Rhodes after the Vikings cut him.

The Colts added Jonathan Taylor in the draft giving them a 1-2 punch with Marlon Mack, then grabbed Michael Pittman to line up opposite of T.Y. Hilton. Rivers’ new offensive line finished third last season in Pro Football Focus’ offensive line rankings of 2019, and the Colts have a solid defense backing him up in Indianapolis — not quite like the star-studded one in Los Angeles though.

Indianapolis’s defense was one of eight teams ranked in the league (7th) allowing under 100 rushing yards (97.9) and finished tied-10th in takeaways with 23, 15 coming off interceptions. The rest of the defensive statistics were underwhelming including allowing opponents to convert on 42.71% of third downs in 2019 (27th).

The division is up for the taking after Hopkins trade from Houston and Tennessee out to prove they aren’t a one-year wonder. The schedule favors them in many areas in 2020, including the beginning and ending stretches.

Week 1 At Jaguars Colts win Week 10 At Titans Titans Win
Week 2 Vs Vikings Vikings win Week 11 Vs Packers Packers win
Week 3 Vs Jets Colts win Week 12 Vs Titans Colts win
Week 4 At Bears Colts win Week 13 At Texans Texans win
Week 5 At Browns Colts win Week 14 At Raiders Colts win
Week 6 Vs Bengals Colts win Week 15 Vs Texans Colts win
Week 8 At Lions Colts win Week 16 At Steelers Steelers win
Week 9 Vs Ravens Ravens win Week 17 Vs Jaguars Colts win

My 2020 Record Prediction: 10-6

The Colts’ first seven games are what’s going to give them a winning record in 2020. There is no reason Indy won’t go 5-2 or 4-3 at the worst through seven weeks, and the last five games of the season, are a possibility for a 4-1 finish. Indianapolis has the best schedule in the AFC South this season and I fully expect them to take advantage.

The Colts face five playoff teams from a season ago, but the likelihood of five teams on this 2020 schedule making playoffs is unlikely. Give a berth to Baltimore and Green Bay, then there are the possibilities of Cleveland, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, and Tennesee being playoff teams in 2020. They could also play more top 10 teams in the 2021 draft then playoff squads, with Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, New York (Jets), and Las Vegas all on tap.

I’ll take the renovated Colts to have an above 8-8 record without a second thought even if the odds are -160.

The Pick: Over 8.5 (-160) on FanDuel Sportsbook

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • 2019 Record: 6-10
  • 2020 Strength of Schedule: 126-129-1 (.494%) – 22nd Toughest
  • 2020 Win Total (FanDuel): Over 5 (+125) / Under 5 (-145)

If this were the NBA, the Jaguars would be tanking, hell, they might be now. The offseason was a wacky one for them after ridding the locker room of some of the longest-tenured and most accomplished players.

Over the last 18 months, they’ve traded Jalen Ramsey, Calais Campbell, A.J. Bouye, and Nick Foles with Yannick Ngakoue next up, and potentially Leonard Fournette. Fournette’s fifth-year team-option was declined and he’s voiced his displeasures plenty over social media.

Jacksonville added CB Darqueze Dennard, LB Joe Schobert, and DL Al Woods on defense, plus first-round picks CB C.J. Henderson and LB K’Lavion Chaisson. They both will step in right away and have the potential to be the best players on that defense in the short-term.

DE Josh Allen and LB Myles Jack remain signed through 2023 and 2024 on their rookie deals so the rebuild on defense has begun around them. The Jags defense had 47 sacks last season, tied 7th with the Patriots and Bucs, but only forced 19 turnovers (T-22nd).

The Jaguars offensive line finished 29th last year and was one of the worst teams converting third-downs at a 37.5%-clip (26th). Their left tackle, Cam Robinson, allowed an 8.2% pressure rate and 9.0% in 2018, one of the worst in the league on a unit that allowed 42 sacks (18th) and 84 quarterback hits (T-12th).

Minshew had 2.85 seconds to throw (10th) in 2019, and I don’t need that many seconds to tell you the Jaguars aren’t winning six or more games in 2020. Taking a look at their schedule, it’s hard to find opponents for let down games and where six wins can happen for Minshew-Mania.

Week 1 Vs Colts Colts win Week 10 At Packers Packers win
Week 2 At Titans Titans win Week 11 Vs Steelers Jaguars win
Week 3 Vs Dolphins Dolphins win Week 12 Vs Browns Browns win
Week 4 At Bengals Bengals win Week 13 At Vikings Vikings win
Week 5 At Texans Texans win Week 14 Vs Titans Titans win
Week 6 Vs Lions Lions win Week 15 At Ravens Ravens win
Week 8 At Chargers Jaguars win Week 16 Vs Bears Bears win
Week 9 Vs Texans Jaguars win Week 17 At Colts Colts win

My 2020 Record Prediction: 3-13
This is going to be a rough season for the Jaguars as they fully transition into the Minshew-era and the future. Jacksonville has winnable games in 2020 versus Cincinnati, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles (Chargers), and Miami. They’d have to beat all of them and another game or two to push them over five wins, and I simply don’t see those teams letting another bottom-feeder win more than lose versus similar competition.

All eyes will be on Leonard Fournette for me, but he’s giving off the feeling that 2020 will be his last with the Jaguars, and I’m not sure he will make it the full 16-games even if he’s fully healthy. Bank on the under as Jacksonville will select in the top five of the NFL Draft in April 2021 and we’ll begin to queue the Trevor Lawrence rumors over Minshew.

The Pick: Under 5 (-164) at BetMGM

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Vaughn Dalzell is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Vaughn, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @VaughnDalzell.