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Breaking down the odds to win the AFC South ahead of free agency

This division is really going to come down to two teams at the top.

Syndication: The Tennessean George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

The AFC South might be the division in the NFL with the clearest schism between the top and bottom, with the current division champion Tennessee Titans sitting firmly at the top.

While the Titans and Indianapolis Colts will be gunning it out to win the division, the other two teams will probably not. Still, there will be a ton of new faces around the AFC South in 2022 so things could get shaken up unexpectedly.

Free agency will produce considerably player movement as always, some teams will look largely the same. The published divisional odds from DraftKings Sportsbook provide a deeper look into the perceived hierarchy of each division and how much upside certain teams have within them.

Tennessee Titans: -130

The Titans earned the number one overall seed in the AFC a year ago despite being without their best player for much of the season. They have a solid defense, ranking 6th in the NFL a year ago. They sacked Joe Burrow nine times in the AFC Divisional round game, which they eventually lost in the final seconds.

The offense is solid, if not spectacular. When Derrick Henry went down last year, they still found a way to win games, but it was in large part thanks to the defense. Though they have elite players like Henry and Julio Jones, both of them had a hard time staying on the field. Ryan Tannehill is good enough to win games without a full stable of players, but he can’t do it with an entirely empty cupboard.

Indianapolis Colts: +135

The Colts were really the only team in the division that gave the Titans a run for their money. Still, they fell well short finishing three games back of the division winners. Still, they have a chance to make noise this year. Jonathan Taylor is coming off an incredible second season as a pro, leading the NFL in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. They’ll need QB Carson Wentz to find a bit more consistency, though.

They also lost defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, replacing him with former Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley. They’ll be some adjustments on that side of the ball, but Bradley’s defenses are known for their stellar pass defense and hard-hitting defensive backs, so they should still be fun to watch.

Jacksonville Jaguars: +1400

It was truly a season that could not have gone any worse for the Jags. They were forced to fire Urban Meyer halfway through the season after a multitude of poor decisions off the field and very little improvement on it. Somehow the head coaching search was going even worse, but they were able to fall butt-backward into a good hire, bringing in Super Bowl Champion Doug Pederson to lead the franchise.

Pederson will have to do an entire 180 in terms of culture, but he has exciting players like Trevor Lawrence and Travis Ettiene who should benefit in their first real season of NFL head coaching after the mess that was their rookie campaigns. James Robinson will remain under contract too for at least this upcoming season and Laviska Shenault Jr. should take a step forward after regressing in 2021.

Houston Texans: +2200

Somehow, Jacksonville has better odds to win the AFC South than Houston. They fired head coach David Culley after just one season and one of the worst rosters in the NFL and replaced him with Lovie Smith.

The talent isn’t there on the field, with no real QB outside of Davis Mills and a stable of aging players all around. The lone bright spot is Brandin Cooks, who had over 1,000 yards receiving a year ago and is fortunately still under contract this season. They had the 30th ranked offense and 27th ranked defense in the NFL a year ago.

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