2019 AFC South Predictions and Expert NFL Betting Picks
The AFC South was extremely competitive last season as it had the honor of sending two teams to the playoffs - the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans. The problem was that they ended up playing each other in the Wild Card round and then the Colts proceeded to get trounced by Kansas City. This year, all four teams have a legitimate shot at making the postseason via the division title. Each team got better under their own circumstances. And outside of any major injuries, each team in this division should be entertaining to watch.
The AFC South has been dominated by the Colts and Texans for the last 10 years as they've combined to win nine division titles, with the lone exception coming in 2017-18 when Jacksonville won it on route to the AFC title game. I'm not predicting a division winner this year because this division is going to be the tightest in football. One play in one game could swing the division in any which way.
As we kick off Week 2 of the preseason this week, I'll be taking you on a guided tour of each division to prep you on what to expect for the upcoming season. Keep in mind, injuries can occur at any moment to derail a season, so getting too hyped up on a division preview is never a good thing.
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Season Win Total 10 (o -105)
AFC South Win Odds (-110)
The Colts essentially returned to the team we all knew they could be last season by going 10-6. They showed flashes of brilliance and then sputtered at times both offensively and defensively. We know the Colts are going to be able to score points in bunches this year, with Andrew Luck under center, a healthy T.Y Hilton on one side and the addition of Devin Funchess to the receiving corps. We also know that the Colts have a solid stable of running backs to rely on, most notably Marlon Mack. Defensively, the Colts are bound to improve this year as they added a veteran pass rusher Justin Houston to the mix. The front four and the linebacking corps are above average, and I expect them to finish among the league's best units. Offensively, nobody stacks up like the Colts do, so the division is theirs if they play up to their potential.
Season Win Total 8.5 (o +140)
AFC South Win Odds (+285)
The Houston Texans hopes for a great season rest squarely on the health of quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson managed to play all 16 games last season en route to his first Pro Bowl. If Watson can stay healthy and get on the same page as the newly put together coaching staff, the Texans have one of the best and most explosive quarterbacks in the division. DeAndre Hopkins is also a big factor to this season, but he's been extremely reliable, so you can pencil him in for his usual production. The big question mark coming into this season is whether or not the Texans can protect Watson. They hope that signing Matt Kalil and drafting Tytus Howard in the first round will give Watson the protection that he needs (and deserves). The once-vaunted Texans defense also has plenty of questions that need answering in the form of a shaky secondary and the potential hold out of Jadeveon Clowney.
Season Win Total 8 (o +110)
AFC South Win Odds (+400)
The Jaguars were nearly in the Super Bowl two seasons ago thanks in large part to a solid running game and a high-end defense. Last season, the defense fell apart and Blake Bortles returned to his terrible ways. Because of that, they shipped him out of town and brought in Nick Foles to lead the offense - something I have no problem with. The problem with the Jaguars is that they are still short of any upper-end talent on offense outside of Leonard Fournette. Putting up points is going to be a struggle for them this year against the AFC South as each team has the chance to be elite units. Outside of the division, the Jags have to take on Kansas City, travel to Denver and host New Orleans in the first six weeks. That season wins total of eight is looking like an "under" right out of the gate.
Season Win Total 8 (o +120)
AFC South Win Odds (+650)
The Titans fell a game short of making the postseason last year and now have a few decisions to make moving forward. For starters, can they win with Marcus Mariota? Sure, they've won some big games with the former Oregon Duck under center, but the health and production of Mariota have been on the decline for some time now. The addition of Adam Humphries should help the offense, but not in a way that it will put it over the top. The defense will very likely be the focal point of this team as they were third in the league in points allowed last season. They did lose a few pieces, like Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan, so it'll be interesting to see who steps up. The Titans are definitely outsiders looking in when it comes to the division crown and a playoff spot. It'll take a big season from Mariota to win over the doubters and possibly save his job in Tennessee for next season. A lousy season and Mariota could be on the outs, with Ryan Tannehill set to take over his spot.
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