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Odds Favor Colts to Win AFC South
Bettorsworld Picks the Titans
The Indianapolis Colts have become a permanent fixture in the playoffs each year and the odds once again favor the Colts to win the AFC South.. It would be foolish to say they won't be competing for the AFC South crown. The question is, who will they be competing with? Likely, the Titans, fresh off an 11-3 season and with one of the best coaches in the NFL. It looks as though the Jags and the Texans still have a long ways to go Our pick? The Titans. Having their season end the way it did had to leave a bitter taste. It won't be easy for old man Kerry Collins to repeat lasts years numbers but at odds of +250 they present the best value in the division.
Here's a look at each of the AFC South teams along with their current odds to win the division.
Indianapolis Colts (Odds
to win AFC South +150) - Led by one of the greatest passers in the history
of the NFL, Peyton Manning, the Colts are the favorite to win the AFC South.
They have made the playoffs 10 of the past 11 years. Jim Caldwell takes over for
the retired Tony Dungy at head coach. Manning can be counted on to throw for
over 4,000 yards again, and perhaps have a season to rival his 2004 year. The
loss of Marvin Harrison could hurt his production, but he still has great
weapons in Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. RB looks like a weakness, but things
could improve with the addition of first round draft pick Donald Brown.
The defense is solid on the whole, but finished a dismal 24th against the run last year. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis do an excellent job rushing the pass, but the rest of the line could use some work. The linebackers are weak and have a high turnover rate. The secondary looks strong and is among the best in the NFL. They set an NFL record for TD passes allowed last year at 6. Look for the Colts to remain as strong as ever even with the addition of Caldwell at head coach. This team isnít going away for a long time.
Tennessee Titans (Odds to win AFC South +250) This team finished with an NFL best record of 13-3 last year, taking the AFC South title from perennial powerhouse Indianapolis. Fans were reminded of the dominant Titans of 1999 and 2000. The bar has been set even higher which is hard to believe. After a first round playoff exit, head coach Jeff Fisher will be expected to get this team to the Super Bowl. He returns many key players from last year. QB Kerry Collins is getting old at 36, but Vince Young looks like a more than reliable backup. Patrick Ramsey was signed to compete with Young, but Young is still the QB of the future for this team.
Tennessee has a powerful run attack with LenDale White and Chris Johnson. White has lost a lot of weight and will be a better runner this year. Johnson racked up 1,228 yards last year and will become the feature back this season. The WR corps are weak, but were strengthened with the additions of Nate Washington and Kenny Britt. The defense lost Albert Haynesworth, but should continue to be more than solid. There is no reason the Titans canít take the AFC South title again, and perhaps make it the Super Bowl.
Houston Texans (Odds to win AFC South +300) Other teams are no longer able to pick on this one and expect an easy win. Since joining the NFL in 2002, the Texans have slowly progressed into a decent team. They finished 8-8 in each of the past two years. Mediocrity isnít what anyone aims for though, and the Texans will make a push for the playoffs this year. That push will begin with improving a defense that isnít up to par. Frank Bush has been promoted to defensive coordinator. Bill Kollar will coach the defensive line, and David Gibbs will take care of the secondary.
Houston picked up two valuable defensive players with 1st round draft pick LB Brian Cushing and 2nd round draft pick DE Connor Barwin. Both will develop into assets for the team. Matt Schaub is reliable at QB and will probably get better this year. He has several good WRs in Kevin Walter, Andre Johnson and Andre Davis. Johnson is one of the best WRs in the NFL. He averaged 13.7 YPC last year and had 10 TDs. The Texans are chock full of talent, but they will have to see improvement on defense if they wish to make the playoffs for the first time.
Jacksonville Jaguars (Odds to win AFC South +350) Fans and players expected big things from the Jaguars last year after they made the playoffs in 2007. The Jaguars disappointed as indicated by their 5-11 record. Locker room problems contributed largely to their demise. Management has shaken things up, releasing several players and getting rid of the vice president of player personnel. David Garrard lost 20 pounds during the offseason and should be a more agile player at QB. His physical abilities are great, but the East Carolina alum has to be a better leader.
All time rushing leader Fred Taylor was released and running duties have been turned over to Maurice Jones-Drew. He is a compact runner at 5-7 and will be susceptible to injury. FB Greg Jones will also get a large amount of carries. The WR corps are one of the worst in the NFL, but the addition of Tory Holt helps. There are plenty of questions surrounding the Jaguars. Despite this, they could grab the wild card with a little bit of luck and lot of help from QB David Garrard.