Houston Texans (2012: 12-4 SU, 9-7 ATS)
Odds to win division: -230
Season win total: 10.5
Houston looked like the best team in the NFL when they opened last season at 11-1 straight-up. The Texans are still the best team in their division by a wide margin, and unless they are besieged with significant injuries, they will return to the playoffs. This team is built to win right now and they could make noise if they get the right matchups in the post-season.
However, their season-ending collapse (1-3 SU) was troublesome, and their two playoff games were ugly. If QB Matt Schaub plays like he did late last season, the Texans will be hindered by his mistakes once again. Houston is only dangerous if they have their running game going with Arian Foster. Against good run-stopping defenses, the Texans will struggle, especially when laying points.
Indianapolis Colts (2012: 11-5 SU, 11-5 ATS)
Odds to win division: +260
Season win total: 8.5
Indianapolis can build off their winning 2012 season because they have a solid NFL quarterback in Andrew Luck. He was ultra impressive as a rookie while throwing for 4,374 yards and 23 TD passes. The Colts also play a weak schedule this season with the majority of their tough games at home.
However, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians left for Arizona which may stall some of Luck’s progression this year. The Colts were a phony playoff team and their 11-5 regular season record was not indicative of their on-field play. Indianapolis was the only team to make the post-season with a negative point differential (-30). Nine of their eleven wins came by 7 points or less with six of those wins coming by 4 points or less. Indianapolis will be overvalued in the NFL odds this season and we’ll look to play against the Colts quite often in 2013.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2012: 2-14 SU, 7-9 ATS)
Odds to win division: +3400
Season win total: 4.5
Jacksonville went just 2-14 SU last season, so there’s nowhere to go but up. Jaguars’ owner Shahid Kahn axed his coaching staff and brought in new guys for the second year in a row. GM David Caldwell, head coach Gus Bradley, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, and defensive coordinator Bob Babich are all new to the Jaguars. Maybe the new voices will have a big impact and get the Jaguars back to respectability.
Jacksonville still figures to be one of the worst teams in the NFL once again this season. While the new coaching staff is a positive, those guys have little to work with. They will need time to build from the ground up, especially since they can’t spend much money due to their salary cap issues.
Tennessee Titans (2012: 6-10 SU, 6-10 ATS)
Odds to win division: +960
Season win total: 6.5
The Titans’ offense rests heavily on QB Jake Locker, and he needs a consistent running game and limited turnovers to be effective. It wouldn’t be a big surprise if Tennessee finished with a winning record because they do have a proven running back in Chris Johnson.
They went 6-10 for the second consecutive season and their losing record was in big part due to a horrendous defense. The Titans allowed 471 points last season while getting out-scored by a whopping 141 points on the year. Tennessee lost seven games by 14 points or more, including three losses by 28 points or more. Defense was a major issue heading into last season and it is once again a huge concern this year.
AFC South Prediction:The Colts were an overrated team last year and should regress this season, therefore Under 8.5 wins could b a smart choice for your NFL picks. If the Colts falter as expected, Houston should have a rather easy time winning this division at a -230 price.