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NFL Insider - The AFC South

7-08-09

AFC South Isn’t All About the Colts in 2009

Traditionally, the AFC South has been the one division in football on which a future bet could be placed. Fans knew that the Indianapolis Colts were going to win the division and the Jacksonville Jaguars were going to pick up the wildcard.

That all changed in 2008 when the Indianapolis Colts picked up the wild card and the Tennessee Titans went nuts and easily won the division. The Jaguars were terrible and the Houston Texans were…at the end of the day, the Houston Texans.

Even though, I believe that normalcy returns to the AFC South in 2009 with the Colts winning the division, but I’m not ready to discount the chances of the other teams. In others words, I believe that the Colts probably do win the division, but I also believe some of the other teams in the AFC South might be worth a bet to win the division based on the odds in the sportsbook.

Let’s take a look at the AFC South.

NFL: AFC South To Win

1. Indianapolis Colts +155 - - As long at Peyton Manning is throwing the pigskin, the Colts are the team to beat in the AFC South. The offensive line should be better in 2009 with Tony Ugoh continuing to develop and the defense should be better with an improving secondary. The problem might actually be at wide receiver where the Colts have two possession type guys in Reggie Wayne and the equally sure handed Anthony Gonazles. The issue is that Peyton may not be able to stretch the field with regularity if Wayne doesn’t become a more vertical threat. But these are the Colts and this is Peyton Manning, I still have to pick them.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars +400 - - The Jags are the longest shot in the sportsbook to win the division, but I do believe they bounce back because they get a much softer schedule in 2009. The also picked up two legitimate wide receivers in Dennis Northcutt and Tory Holt, and quarterback David Garrard should benefit from much better offensive line play. The defense is still solid. The Jags have a shot.

3. Houston Texans +325 - - The Texans have a chance to improve much more than any other team in the AFC South Division if, and only if, Matt Schaub improves as a quarterback. They have a seriously good running back in Steve Slaton and a very good defense, but things just haven’t clicked so far in Houston. It all has to do with Schaub who, for all of his talent, might not have the maturity to be a winning quarterback in the NFL. I like this team a lot but I can’t endorse based on the NFL odds. They should be longer shots than the Jaguars.

4. Tennessee Titans +240 - - Even though they are going off as the second choice in the sportsbook, the Titans really aren’t even close to being as good as they were last year. The problem for the Titans is that the schedule is much, much tougher in 2009, they were exposed in the playoffs for a team that really doesn’t have a championship offense, Kerry Collins is a year older, and the defense won’t be nearly as good. Internal strife between the baby that is Vince Young and the rest of the Titans will hurt them as well. It’s impossible for Young to shut his mouth and just take it. The Titans have a chance to go from heroes to zeroes in 2009. I suggest that gamblers take a hard, long look at this team before putting money on them to win the AFC South.

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