If there has been any consistent theme in the NFL this offseason, it has been change.
The AFC South has certainly not been exempt from this trend, as all four of the teams in the division have experienced major roster change from the year before.
The Jacksonville Jaguars reset their team in a dramatic way, by adding number one overall pick Trevor Lawrence into the fold.
The Tennessee Titans made their big splash towards the end of May, trading for two time All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones.
Last, but certainly not least were the Indianapolis Colts, who swung an aggressive trade for quarterback Carson Wentz, with the hope that he could regain the form he showed earlier in his career.
Unfortunately for Indianapolis, the Wentz era is off to a slow start.
He hurt his foot during practice last week, and ultimately decided to get surgery.
The current prognosis for his recovery is that he could return sometime in the next 5-12 weeks, which is certainly an expansive timetable.
The injury will have ramifications on how the AFC South unfolds this season, and we’ll take a stab at predicting each team’s record in light of this news.
🚨 BREAKING 🚨 New Colts QB Carson Wentz has been told he will be out for 5-12 weeks due to surgery on a broken bone in his foot.
— The Division B Podcast (@DivisionPodcast) August 2, 2021
Houston Texans Record: 2-15
Unfortunately for the Texans and their fans, the Wentz injury doesn’t necessarily change the fortunes of the franchise for 2021.
New head coach David Culley will have his hands full trying to keep spirits high for a franchise that has completely fallen apart in the last year or so.
Even if Watson can avoid a lengthy suspension from the NFL related to off-the-field matters, it’s unlikely he would want to play for the team ever again.
So far in training camp, Watson was actually forced to play safety because his conditioning wasn’t up to par (according to Culley).
If your superstar quarterback is spending time playing in the secondary in July, you know it’s going to be a long NFL season.
Jacksonville Jaguars Record: 5-12
The Texans have had a tumultuous time during the offseason, and the Jaguars have had a very peculiar one.
Jacksonville head coach Urban Meyer is hoping that the success he had in college will translate to the NFL, and has kept everyone on their toes.
He has called out wide receiver DJ Chark for playing “small” last year, and wants him to be more physical.
Meyer also proclaimed that running back Travis Etienne, whom the team invested a first-round draft pick on, would be used primarily on third downs.
While all this was happening, his former quarterback at the University of Florida, Tim Tebow, is trying to make the roster as a tight end at age 33.
The Jaguars should be an improved squad in 2021 due to the added talent, but will have a bunch of growing pains on the field and the sidelines.
Indianapolis Colts Record: 8-9
The Wentz injury leaves the Colts in a bind in more ways than one.
Not only will their new quarterback not be able to soak up valuable reps at practice, but his timeline leaves the franchise caught in no man’s land.
If Wentz’s is able to recover and get back on the field in five weeks, that means he’ll have a decent chance at suiting up for Indianapolis’ regular season opener.
In the event his recovery is a prolonged one, he could be out until the end of October or beginning of November.
The team just parted ways with capital to acquire Wentz, and it would be tough for them to swing another deal just to bring in a placeholder.
Indianapolis also lost All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson to a foot injury, and will have to rely on their running game and defense to hold down the fort.
Tennessee Titans Record: 12-5
Before Wentz went down, there was a legitimate conversation to be had about whether the Colts or the Titans were the class of the AFC South.
However, with Indianapolis’ key injuries so far in training camp, there is no longer any question about who the class of the division is.
The Titans figure to feature one of the league’s most dangerous offenses, which will put defenses in a perplexing predicament.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) August 3, 2021
Or do they play a nickel or dime scheme, which will leave the line of scrimmage sparsely packed for Henry?
Assuming good health, it’s hard to see Tennessee not running away with the AFC South, and challenging for one of the top seeds in the conference.