Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Houston and Tennessee are the early favorites, but by the time the regular season ends, it could be Indianapolis on top.

Findbet continues our tour of NFL training camps as we approach the start of the NFL season. Let's take a look at the headlines coming out of the AFC South and make our record predictions for 2020.


Colts QB Philip Rivers warms up during a padded practice Is Philip Rivers enough to push the Colts to a division crown?Indianapolis Star

Indianapolis

The Colts did more than any other team in the AFC South this off season when it came to improving their team. They went out and signed Philip Rivers to take over at quarterback, and also drafted the highly touted RB from Wisconsin, Jonathan Taylor. TY Hilton is heading into the season healthy which will be a huge boost for an unproven receiving core and he will likely become Rivers' favorite target quickly. The Colts also drafted one of the most "NFL Ready" wide receivers in Michael Pittman Jr out of USC. Taylor and Marlon Mack will start the year splitting carries in the backfield but Mack is in the final year of his deal. By the end of the year, Taylor will most likely be taking the lion's share of carries. One of the best offensive lines in the league, paired with play makers Darius Leonard and Malik Hooker on defense, and the Colts will bounce back in a big way in 2020. We have them winning a tiebreak over Houston for the division crown.

Prediction: 10-6 (Division Champ)

Deshaun Watson celebrates after first down. Deshaun Watson will have some different weapons to work with in 2020.AP Sports

Houston:

Bill O'Brien never ceases to amaze the football world with his prowess for making trades. He traded away one of the top wide receivers in the game, DeAndre Hopkins, earlier in the off season to Arizona for an aging David Johnson. Johnson is expected to handle the starting duties at RB and has drawn rave reviews from the coaching staff for his physical condition entering camp. The real question is whether Johnson can stay healthy. After trading away Hopkins, the Texans turned around and acquired Brandin Cooks, a head scratching move to say the least considering the drop off in talent between him and Hopkins. Will Fuller and Kenny Stills round out the top three WRs for Deshaun Watson to throw to this year. Houston's defense returns a healthy JJ Watt and should still be a top 15 unit. It's a toss up between Houston and Indianapolis this year, and whichever team can stay healthier will most likely come out on top.

Prediction: 10-6 (Wild Card Berth)

Derrick Henry running a football Derrick Henry looks for a repeat of his 2019 season.The Tennessean-USA TODAY NETWORK via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Tennessee:

The Titans surprised everyone by stomping their way into the AFC Championship last year, beating the Patriots and the Ravens on the back of Derrick Henry and a rejuvenated Ryan Tannehill. This year, the Titans return most of their starters on offense after handing out a sizable extension to Tannehill and returning Derrick Henry on the franchise tag. The Titans have an emerging star at WR in AJ Brown to pair with 4th year veteran Corey Davis, who has never lived up to his top 5 draft position. On defense, the Titans traded away Jurrel Casey and decided against resigning Logan Ryan. Jeffrey Simmons looks to step in for Casey and build on his impressive rookie year. In a tightly contested division and a considerably weaker AFC, the Titans will almost assuredly be in the playoff race as long as Tannehill doesn't regress from his 2019 performance.

Predicition: 9-7 (Wild Card Berth)

Gardner Minshew throws a football Gardner Minshew may be running for his life this year.Getty Images

Jacksonville:

You can call it tanking, you can call it rebuilding. The Jaguars are playing for the future, not 2020. The roster, which was already purged of talent in 2019 with the trade of Jalen Ramsay and Calais Campbell, was then diluted even more with the trade of Yannick Ngakoue and the release of Leonard Fournette late in training camp. Gardner Minshew III has become a cult hero of sorts in some NFL fan circles, but he doesn't have the talent to make up for the defensive purging that this team has done. The Jaguars have a bright spot at wide receiver after the emergence of DJ Chark last year, and drafted promising rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. in the second round of the NFL Draft. The team, pending any other types of moves, will trot out Ryquell Armstead and Chris Thompson at running back after Fournette's release. The only thing the Jaguars have going for them in 2020 is the allure of opportunity to draft Trevor Lawrence, and they are primed to be in that position looking at the current state of their roster.

Prediction: 2-14

Paul George grabbing a rebound in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals

Barry Gossage/Getty Images

In a must win game for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George was finally able to look like the best player on the floor in a playoff game.

After a slow start, George poured it on in the second half on his way to a game high 41 points in Game 5. The performance elevated the Clippers over strong outings from the likes of Devin Booker and Chris Paul as L.A. outlasted Phoenix 116-102.

The Clippers don't have much time to bask in their win however as they have to turn around and play two more elimination games just to make it out of the West. The Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead as Los Angeles struggled to find their identity without Kawhi Leonard. If the Clippers are to stave off elimination any longer, George has to continue this level of play.

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Ben Simmons disappointed in the playoffs this season

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Following a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers and coach, Doc Rivers, are questioning if Ben Simmons is the right guy to be running their offense through moving forward.

Offense being the key word here.

Simmons is an all-world defender possessing the ability to guard virtually any opponent on the court from the perimeter to the rim. But it was his lack of offensive help throughout this playoff season that stood out beyond any accomplishments this year. Simmons joined Rudy Gobert as unanimous selections for the NBA's All-Defensive First Team this year and also finished fifth in the NBA in assists per game with 8.8 per contest.

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The Lakers looked lost in the Valley

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns are just a win away from sending LeBron James home in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the King's illustrious career.

After stating that "These shoulders were built for a reason," James referring to facing the challenge of taking on added responsibilities after Anthony Davis was ruled out for Game 5, the Lakers and LeBron disappointed in a big way Tuesday night. L.A. started off hot jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind a couple shots from James and a three from Davis' replacement Markieff Morris. But it didn't take long for the wheels to completely fall off for the defending champion Lakers as they spent most of the first half trying to remember how basketball works.

LeBron James LeBron looking on during Game 5Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Two numbers stick out in the Game 5 loss for the Lakers and those are 34.5 and 12. Los Angeles shot 34.5% from the field on Tuesday night and were minus 12 in turnover ratio. No matter who's on your team, if you can't shoot and you can't protect the ball, the outcome is already determined.

The Suns weren't simply beneficiaries of a poor performance however as the Suns put it on the Lakers early and often and they never let their foot off the pedal for 48 minutes. Phoenix ended with 15 more assists, had seven more combined steals and blocks, and outscored L.A. in the paint by 12 points. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne were spectacular and they seemed to hit big shots every time the Lakers appeared to threaten a comeback. Mikal Bridges was effective on both sides of the ball adding three steals and two blocks to help electrify his team with the defensive effort.


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