It seems like forever ago that the Indianapolis Colts were the perennial owners of the AFC South, but the reclamation may be coming soon.
Over the last few years, the Colts have taken steps to strengthen their foundation, but a move they made this offseason may be the biggest deciding factor in who wins the division.
According to Bleacher Report, the Colts' trade for quarterback Carson Wentz is the move in the division that will have the biggest impact on who sits atop the group by the end of 2021.
The Indianapolis Colts acquired Carson Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles in a noteworthy deal. They'll transition from the 39-year-old Philip Rivers to a signal-caller who's still in his prime with only one abysmal season in five terms.
Although Rivers threw for 4,169 yards, 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last year, he played with limited arm strength. In the pocket, the stationary quarterback could sidestep pass-rushers but never extended plays on his feet.
Wentz is far more athletic than Rivers with the ability to make off-script throws downfield. He's not a natural ball-carrier but keeps plays alive with his legs.
In 2020, the Colts lost a division-record tiebreaker to the Tennessee Titans for the AFC South title. If Wentz's reunion with head coach Frank Reich helps him rediscover his 2017 form when the two worked together with the Eagles for two seasons, Indianapolis would have a massive upgrade at the most important position.
We could see some intriguing battles between Wentz and Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill in 2021.
Quarterback is the most influential position on the field, so the Colts acquiring one who everyone knows can play well-above-average football when he's at his best should make them a threat in the South.
With Wentz's free, risky style of play and the playmakers at his disposal, we could see some of the magic within the Colts that made Andrew Luck's Colts squads such a dominant force over the division.
Across the division, no one has done anything yet that drastically increases their chances in the division beyond the Colts.
The Tennessee Titans are the reigning division champs and have every reason to remain the favorites. However, they had to replace bright, young offensive coordinator Arthur Smith after he left to become the Atlanta Falcons' head coach. Tennessee was also in tough salary cap space this offseason and wasn't able to bring back wide receiver Corey Davis, tight end Jonnu Smith, offensive tackle Dennis Kelly, and cornerbacks Malcolm Butler, Adoreé Jackson, and Desmond King.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have a lot of change coming their way, but they may not be ready to be AFC South champs yet in 2021. They have a talented new head coach in Urban Meyer. They're also presumed to be getting Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence at No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, although they've made a lot of subtle moves in free agency, there's been nothing that moves the needle outside of getting cornerback Shaquill Griffin to pair with C.J. Henderson.
As for the Houston Texans? Yikes. What a mess.
At 28 years old, Wentz could feasibly have around 10 years left in the league. If he reclaims his status as one of the league's most effective quarterbacks, he and the Colts could be back atop the AFC South in 2021 and for years to come.
Does Wentz make the Colts AFC South favorites in 2021? Drop your thoughts below in the comment section!