NFL Playoffs Picture 2019: AFC South Teams Ranked

The state of play in the AFC South has changed dramatically over the last two weeks. First, Andrew Luck unexpectedly announced his retirement, leaving the Indianapolis Colts without their starting quarterback.

A week after that, the Houston Texans traded Jadeveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks after failing to agree a long-term deal with the three-time Pro Bowler.

The Colts and the Texans have dominated the division, winning in nine of the last 10 seasons. Could that change this year?

Here's what to expect from the AFC South in 2019.

Houston Texans

The trade taking Clowney to Seattle in exchange for a 2020 third-round pick and defensive ends Barkevious Mingo and Jacob Martin has largely been seen as a steal for the Seahawks.

Clowney is certainly a major loss for the Texans, particularly as their defense had already waved goodbye to safety Tyrann Mathieu and cornerback Kareem Jackson.

Despite those departures, according to Oddschecker the Texans are a 14/5 favorite to win the division for a fourth time in five years.

On the offensive side of the ball, running back Duke Johnson has arrived from the Cleveland Browns and will begin the season a starter with Lamar Miller injured.

Houston added offensive tackles Tytus Howard and Max Scharping with two of its first three draft picks to bolster its offensive line.

Deshaun Watson was the most-sacked quarterback in the league last season and Houston needs to protect him better if it is to go further than the wild-card round in the playoffs.

Prediction: 11-5

Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans
Kenny Moore #23 of the Indianapolis Colts prevents DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Houston Texans from making a catch during the Wild Card Round at NRG Stadium on January 5 in Houston, Texas. Bob Levey/Getty

Jacksonville Jaguars

At 43/10, the Jaguars are second-favorite to finish top in the division, perhaps more because of the Colts' problems than because of their own merits.

After four largely underwhelming years in Florida, Blake Bortles has left Jacksonville for Los Angeles, replaced by Nick Foles.

The Jaguars have thrown a lot of money to the hero of Super Bowl LII and hope he can resurrect an offense that looked stale last season.

Defensively, the Jaguars have added pass-rusher Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick of the draft. The defense is again expected to be Jacksonville's main asset, particularly if Jalen Ramsey can step up after a difficult season.

The Jaguars have enough talent and a relatively easy schedule to make a push for the playoff.

Prediction: 9-7

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts went 10-7 last season, winning nine of their last 10 games to reach the playoffs where they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round.

Yet they enter the season as 5/1 third-favorites to win the AFC South. Such long odds boil down to one factor: Andrew Luck's retirement.

The first overall pick of the 2012 draft called time on his NFL career late last month, leaving Jacoby Brissett to shoulder the responsibility of taking the Colts to the playoffs.

A leader on the field. A pillar of the community.#ThankYouLuck

— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) August 25, 2019

A former understudy to Tom Brady for the New England Patriots, Brissett is undoubtedly talented, but whether he can perform effectively over the course of a season remains up for debate.

The Colts were considered a potential Super Bowl contender before Luck's retirement, but now it seems likely they could face a fight to reach the playoffs.

At least Indianapolis has added some much-needed pass rushing talent in the shape of former Chiefs defensive end Justin Houston.

Prediction: 8-8

Tennessee Titans

In his first season, coach Mike Vrabel guided the Titans to a 9-7 record and more improvements are expected this season, which they begin as 11/2 fourth-favorite to win the AFC South.

The Titans have added Ryan Tannehill to provide competition for quarterback Marcus Mariota, while Adam Humphries will bolster the receiving corps after joining from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Big things are expected of wide receiver A.J. Brown, a second-round draft pick from Ole Miss.

The arrival of veteran defensive end Cameron Wake, however, is perhaps the most intriguing as it will provide Harold Landry with an experienced partner.

In his first season in the NFL, Landry emerged as a genuine pass-rush threat.

Prediction: 8-8

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