The AFC South is in part what the powers that be in the NFL truly want: parity. In this division, there are no great teams nor are there any really terrible ones, either, just a whole lot of ordinary.
Houston still has not solved its continuing quarterback problem. Tennessee has bits and pieces, but has not shown ability to put all together. Indianapolis will have to wait until Andrew Luck is ready to return from shoulder surgery and still has a so-so roster and Jacksonville, well, they are the J A G U A R S, and that is not a good thing. Here is our preseason preview for the AFC South with opinions from some of my sharp betting friends and my thoughts blended in. All the NFL odds listed are courtesy of Bookmaker.
This is a playoff team that could win a game or two if they had a quarterback. Tom Savage is no answer and Houston does not have the same setup as Dallas a year ago to bring along rookie Deshaun Watson. ... DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller (out 2-3 months) are too talented to be wasted as receivers without somebody who cannot get them the ball. ... Like Houston at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. ... Texans were No.1 in total defense without J.J. Watt. If he close to disruptive self, they will do better than 11th in scoring defense. ... The loss of corner A.J. Bouye will be felt, he was terrific last season. ... Most agree, Houston is fairly safe bet for 'over' 8.5.
Odds To Win Division (as of 8/5)
Offensive line was a beast last season and look for that to continue in 2017. ... DeMarco Murray will probably have fewer carries as Derrick Henry gets more playing time, yet that is not bad for Tennessee as that keeps Murray fresher all season. ... Still not sure what I think about Marcus Mariota, but very impressed he has 33 red-zone passing touchdowns and no interceptions. ... Rookie receiver Corey Davis will be Mariota's favorite target. ... Not sure if the defensive additions will dramatically impact No. 30 pass defense. ... With shortcomings on defense and doubts about Mike Mularkey as head coach, the Titans are an iffy choice to win division and be anything more than .500 team.
Season Win Totals (as of 8/5)
Andrew Luck coming off shoulder surgery is one nasty hit away from being injured again playing behind that offensive line. ... Since Luck has been playing in front of a brutal offensive line, he's become a turnover machine and is turning into Philip Rivers. ... How long can you have Frank Gore as your featured running back? ... The defense has undergone an overhaul, yet does anyone really think they will even become an average defense (30th last year) by December? ... Impossible to think the Colts will win beyond eight games for NFL picks and if Luck misses any time, six or seven is more likely.
Odds To Win The AFC (as of 8/5)
Houston +1150 (4th in AFC)
Tennessee +2000 (7th)
Indianapolis +3000 (8th)
Jacksonville +4300 (12th)
Tell me if this sounds familiar why Jacksonville cannot improve: Blake Bortles and the offensive line. ... Make or break year for Bortles, and I think we already know the answer. ... If the offensive line is better than expected, really like the combo of Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon in the Jaguars backfield. ... Give Tom Coughlin credit, he got Jacksonville ownership to sign DE Calais Campbell and corner A.J Bouye. ... It might take three games but the Jaguars have the making a good defense at all three levels. ... If coach Doug Marrone can develop and reliable running game, that give Bortles a chance to succeed, the rest is up to him. ... Experts split on Jags chances to beat 6.5 win total.