Odds to Win
In the span of one season, the AFC South turned into a good division that should be as competitive as any in the NFL. The Jaguars have the best odds to win it after doing so last year by one win (over the Titans) even though they had by far the worst odds (+630). Can the Colts do something similar with Andrew LUck back?
Odds to win AFC South
courtesy of 5dimes(mid August)
Jacksonville Jaguars +175
Houston Texans +210
Tennessee Titans +330
Indianapolis Colts +600
The Jacksonville Jaguars (over/under 9) finally put everything together last year en route to what should’ve been a Super Bowl berth. It was still an impressive season for a team that had an over/under of seven wins. There’s no reason for them to drop off unless injuries occur. Blake Bortles still leads the way, but the addition of Leonard Fournette and an improved offensive line that added Andrew Norwell should oNCe again keep defenses honest. The receivers are questionable with Marqise Lee the top option, but with the play-action roasting secondaries last season, that could be the case again. The same goes for the defense that ranked best in the league in most categories and they retain just about everyone, while adding cornerback D.J. Hayden and a couple safeties to help on the back end. The lone problem with the Jags is that when you bet on them, you’re putting money on Bortles.
It’s a little easier to back the Houston Texans (over/under 9) simply because of Deshaun Watson. He should be good for the opener after tearing his ACL last season. The offensive line is the biggest worry because they need to keep Watson healthy and while they added a few pieces, they aren’t guaranteed to make the group above average. DeAndre Hopkins leads the skill players, while LAmar Miller may take a back seat to D’Onta Foreman if the second-year running back can return to form after tearing his Achilles. The biggest thing for Houston is to get everyone on defense back to full strength. That means J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney. If those guys stay healthy, expect overall improvement to go with a revamped secondary that includes Tyrann Mathieu on a one-year deal.
The Tennessee Titans (over/under 8) were oNCe the trendy team to back, but that’s no longer the case even with new head coach Mike Vrabel. There are still questions about how the team will look on both sides of the ball. The offense will undoubtedly be different as it tries to use Marcus Mariota’s skill set more than previous seasons. His receivers are fine, but Corey Davis is still an unknown and tight end Delanie Walker is another year older. It’ll be interesting to see how they iNCorporate Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis out of the backfield, both of whom can be stud running backs. The defense has some talent and added cornerback Malcolm Butler, but if they are below average again, that will keep them out of the race in the division. The Titans have finished in the bottom half of Football OUtsiders’ DVOA the last couple seasons, mostly due to a torrid pass defense.
In the same vein of having a bad defense, the Indianapolis Colts (over/under 7) suddenly have the worst odds to win the division. There are unknowns across the board even if Andrew LUck returns to his former levels. He can only do so much, especially with little help outside of T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle. The running Game is often a question, but the addition of guard Quenton Nelson is expected to improve the line. Marlon MACk’s inability to stay healthy could be a problem now that he’s the lead guy and he picked up a hamstring injury in the first preseason Game. The defense has constantly been an issue for the Colts and they’ll probably be the worst unit in the division after not adding anyone of significaNCe. Sure, guys are returning from injury, but they have a long way to go either way.
The AFC South looks set for a battle between the Jaguars and Texans, although it wouldn’t be surprising if the Titans or Colts slipped into the race. The Jags have the better defense, but the Texans are more potent on the offensive end if Watson can stay on the field. Take your pick.