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Breaking Down the AFC South Division for the 2018 NFL Season

NFL Betting: Breaking Down the AFC South for the 2018 Season

By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

With a lot of different things happening in the league, one of the topsy-turviest divisions is the AFC South. Last season saw the two division doormats take over with the Jaguars winning the division, followed by the Titans, who also went to the postseason. The normal strength in the division, Indianapolis and Houston, both finished the season at a demoralizing 4-12. But this season seems to have a reset dynamic in it, with the division a bit more up-in-the-air than last season's results would suggest. Houston and Indy should both be better this season, making the AFC South a true 4-horse race. Let's see what's good and bad about each squad, followed by Loot's pick on whether these teams will not meet or exceed their posted 2018 projected season wins totals.

Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6 last season)
Pros:
Extreme power on defense manifested big-time last season
A winning feeling is in the locker room
Heading in right direction
Had top pass-defense last season, should be tip-top again
Rising talent in the running back and wide receiver department
Not far from Super Bowl last season
Added some juice on O-line
Added some power at tight end position
Draft makes defense even more-loaded
Cons:
Bortles has only so high of a ceiling
Do they trust Bortles the way they need to?
Let some established receivers go
Did stars line up perfectly last season?
Division could be tougher
Schedule will be tougher than last season
Are they complete enough to cement their contender status?
Loot's Pick for Over/Under Wins: Over 9 at -110. While they seem to be a good candidate to regress, we feel the defense is for real and at least good enough to lead the Jags to being an above-.500 team again in 2018.

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Houston Texans (4-12 last season)
Pros:
Exciting pieces in place
Injured stars returning
Core in place, with returning stars to boost the team
Added key secondary juice with Tyrann Mathieu and Aaron Colvin
Different team with Watson in there—high ceiling
Last season doesn't count for much with no QB talent
Offense explosive with Watson
Reloaded on defense
Coach O'Brien generally gets most of what he has
Growing receiver talent
Starpower on defense with loaded secondary
Revamped O-line could also possibly pay off
Not a ton of travel on schedule overall
Cons:
Are their fortunes too wrapped up in Deshaun Watson?
Still lost 9 of 10 games to end 2017
Not a ton of offseason moves overall
O-line has no continuity
Weak run-game, both with blocking and gaining yards
Lack of run game and questions on O-line make Watson's future dicey
Tough schedule to open, need a fast start
No first or second round pick in this past draft
Loot's Pick for Over/Under Wins: Under 8.5 at +140. We could be way off on this one, as Houston could end up looking like a Super Bowl contender if everything falls into place. We're just not so sure Watson is in a position to thrive with no run-game and a dicey front.

Indianapolis Colts (4-12 last season)
Pros:
So many injuries have given them more depth
Roster littered with interesting rookies and blossoming youngsters
Line bolstered to protect Luck
Luck likely to make everyone look better
Reich could prove to be a nice hire as head coach
Signs on Luck are positive
Brought in a few useful ball-catchers
Schedule not too tough after tough start
If Luck stays healthy, "over" is almost a lock
Cons:
Didn't add a ton, despite roster being a bit thin
Both sides of ball awful last season
Lot of rebuilding going on
Fortunes too dependent on Luck
Who's going to run the ball?
Little thin in playmaking department outside of TY Hilton
O-line bolstered with free agency and draft still questionable overall
Defense needs a lot of stars to align right
Too many holes on roster
Loot's Pick for Over/Under Wins: Over 6.5 at -120. All comes down to Luck. If one can picture him lasting the season, a 7-win season is nearly a lock, with Luck posting a lifetime 43-27 record as a starter. If Luck goes down, it's still doable, but will be tough.

Tennessee Titans (9-7 last season)
Pros:
Rising talent on both sides of the ball
Exciting youth in the skill positions
Playmaking ability on defense
Got Rams OC from last season to boost "O" in Matt LaFleur
Overall, interesting talent at coaching positions if it pans out
Could Corey Davis be a number-one receiver if healthy?
Other ball-catchers could blossom
O-line getting better with added continuity
Mariota keeps getting better
Add juice in secondary, add Butler from the Patriots
Playmaking safety play from Byard, losing Cyprien hurts
Decent schedule travel-wise
Cons:
Coaching staff unproven, especially at the top
Last year's success built on a lot of close wins and some really bad losses
Poor pass-defense needs to improve
Despite being a team on the rise, they don't act like it, with firings being rampant
Didn't act like a playoff team
Ton of changes
Injury bug already surfacing
No real identifiable playmakers
Cannot withstand a serious injury to Mariota
Pass rush needs to get better and could undermine whole "D"
One of the hardest teams to pin down, very volatile
Loot's Pick for Over/Under Wins: Over 8 at -110. The jury is still out, despite consecutive 9-win seasons. We see some improvements registering and keeping the Titans above water this season. Bet these futures for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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