NFL Handicapping: The AFC South
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NFL Handicapping Insight
The AFC South figures to put forth the weakest division winner among AFC teams once again this season.
The Tennessee Titans made a little noise last season, but with it being a down year for the Indianapolis Colts, the Houston Texans cruised to a division title as the lone playoff representative for the group.
2017 AFC South Predictions: Houston Texans
Texans Odds to Win 2017 Super Bowl: +1800
Texans Odds to Win 2017 AFC Conference: +900
Texans Odds to Win 2017 AFC South Division: +175
The Texans took a quarterback who won them their division and a playoff game and jettisoned him to Siberia as a cash dump.
Houston’s trade of Brock Osweiler to the Cleveland Browns left the team with Tom Savage as its quarterback, but then they went out and paid a hefty price for Deshaun Watson in the draft.
Watson presents an immediate upgrade at the position, particularly giving head coach Bill O’Brien’s body of work with the position. That means an immediate upgrade to an offense with some serious weapons in DeAndre Hopkins and Lamar Miller.
And on the other side of the ball, getting back a healthy J.J. Watt will make all the difference in the world to the division’s best stop unit.
2017 AFC South Predictions: Indianapolis Colts
Colts Odds to Win 2017 Super Bowl: +3300
Colts Odds to Win 2017 AFC Conference: +1400
Colts Odds to Win 2017 AFC South Division: +200
Last year it looked like all the pieces were in place for the Colts to get back into the AFC title game conversation, but injuries derailed their hopes. This group remains largely the same from that one.
The Colts were expected to bolster the running back position in the draft, but Frank Gore remains the bell cow despite his age.
Andrew Luck is the star of the show, and the team will only go as far as he takes them. He has the weapons around him to terrorize opposing secondaries, with T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief combining to form a formidable one-two punch at wide receiver.
The team built up its defense through the draft, so a step forward from that group should be expected. But again, this is a team built to win with offense, so that’s the group that needs to step up.
2017 AFC South Predictions: Jacksonville Jaguars
Jaguars Odds to Win 2017 Super Bowl: +10000
Jaguars Odds to Win 2017 AFC Conference: +4000
Jaguars Odds to Win 2017 AFC South Division: +550
It looked like the Jaguars were ready to take a big step forward last season. The offense put together a solid 2015 season and with young players at the center of that, another step forward seemed logical. And the defense was built up through free agency and the draft.
But alas, it was not to be.
This year they’re going to take a little pressure off Blake Bortles with the addition of fourth overall pick Leonard Fournette = a dynamic runner out of LSU who should make an immediate mark.
With that said, he’s not going to do enough as a rookie, and there isn’t enough talent around him, for this to be a quick-fix situation. There’s still a lot of work for the Jags’ front office to do to turn this franchise around.
2017 AFC South Predictions: Tennessee Titans
Titans Odds to Win 2017 Super Bowl: +4000
Titans Odds to Win 2017 AFC Conference: +2000
Titans Odds to Win 2017 AFC South Division: +225
Tajae Sharpe looked really good in the preseason last year, quickly developing a rapport with Marcus Mariota. But the team identified its need for a top-flight wide receiver and spent a first-round pick on Corey Davis. He’ll make an immediate impact.
There’s not a lot else to be excited about here. They’re still going to lean heavily on DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry on offense. And the defense doesn’t inspire much confidence.
Cappers Picks 2017 AFC South Predictions
There’s no reason any one of these teams couldn’t pop and win 9 or 10 games and win the division.
But the most likely outcome is either the Colts or Texans flex their muscles again and are the only two teams competing for the division lead come December.
The Colts are hoping for a bounce back, while the Texans improved from their division winning form a year ago. Go with Houston.
More 2017 NFL Division By Division Gambling Previews
- 2017 AFC East Predictions
- 2017 AFC West Predictions
- 2017 AFC North Predictions
- 2017 NFC East Predictions
- 2017 NFC North Predictions
- 2017 NFC South Predictions
- 2017 NFC West Predictions
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