AFC South Preview by Jim Feist
The AFC South consists of the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans. When I look at the head coaches of each of these clubs, I see the Colts as the number one club with Frank Reich leading the way. I put the Houston Texans last with Bill O’Brien. The Jaguars’ Doug Marrone and Titans’ Mike Vrabel are about even and middle of the division, though many would argue that Marrone will be the first fired this year from within the AFC South. I’m not so sure about that, since I think it might O’Brien with the Texans.
The top QB in the division is Andrew Luck of the Colts. Nick Foles, Marcus Marietta and Deshaun Watson are the other three and while I believe they’re very talented signal-callers, I might have to place the Jags’ Foles as the second best in the division. Foles has not ventured outside his great success with the Philadelphia Eagles, so he’s my 2nd pick at this point. Many people would argue that Watson is the best and I might agree if not for his style of play and lack of protection.
Offensive lines I would rank the Colts as having the best in this group and the Texans number last. The Texans OL is so poor that Watson may not make it through the whole season without a significant injury. Watson is a very talented, running QB that keeps everyone entertained and has the potential to be a big winner in this league. However, it’s his lack of protection from those in front of him could be what finishes his season. I don’t feel the Texans did a good job rebuilding their offensive line in the off season, after a horrendous 2018 where they didn’t protect Watson.
The Colts offensive line is solid, and Luck was well protected in last season. Luck missed two years mostly due to poor offensive line play, poor coaching and upper management decisions. Their offensive line is solid this season and that’s primarily why I feel the Colts will win this division. They will give Luck the protection he needs to win games.
Jacksonville is always a solid defensive team but lacked that something extra on the offensive side of the ball. They went out and acquired Foles from the Eagles and that could be the key that makes this team dangerous in 2019. I like Tom Coughlin being the team’s Executive Vice President because he gives them a heady front office leadership. However, I don’t think they’re going to be quite good enough to win that division even, though they did two years ago. Vegas agrees with me that the Colts are the team to beat. The Colts win total was put at 9.5-games by Vegas while the other three teams all come in at about 8-games. That tells the whole story in this division.
Let’s see if we can pick our spots to win some money. The Colts over/under win total is 9 1/2 with the over favored at -1.48. That is a steep price and because of the juice, you are really betting over 10 if you choose to go that way. Personally, I will wait until training camp begins to show us more before investing on this total. Right Now I lean Over the total on the Colts.
The Texans are at 8 1/2 wins, with the under a hefty -1.56. I’m not a big fan of their head coach, the offensive line issues and their constant defensive injuries. Yes, I know the Texans won the division last year, but I feel they had a ton of breaks go their way to achieve this and that just won’t happen in 2019. I only like the under in this spot and only wish I could catch a total of 9-games, but then the juice would be even higher.
The Titans total is listed at 8-games with the under as the -1.30 chalk. This is a reasonable price and I’ll be grabbing a little under for the pocket change. I see much the same from this team as I have from the past seasons. The best word to describe the Titans once again is average from the front office on down to the field.
Vegas has the Jags win total at 8-games and the under juiced at -1.43. The jags made a big move to bring in Foles. This is a club that was very viable two years ago and, in my opinion, will be more solid heading into this year. With Foles at the helm I expect more out of this year’s edition of the Jaguars. I’m betting over the 8-game total. In summary, this is a very tight group but for a few leans one way or the other. The solid line play coupled with the upgrade at quarterback makes all the difference for me here. We all know injuries can and will be an issue throughout the league, so don’t go too crazy with your futures.