AFC South Preview

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The AFC South is set to look much different in 2022 than years past. Deshaun Watson has officially left Houston following a trade to the Cleveland. Carson Wentz is gone, and former MVP Matt Ryan is the new starting quarterback for Indianapolis. 2022 number one overall draft pick Trayvon Walker will add some star power to a lowly Jacksonville defense. And Derrick Henry will be back from injury as the Titans attempt to win their third consecutive division title. Experts predict that the AFC South will be a two-way race between the Colts and Titans, but the division has been known to surprise. Let’s take a way too early look at where these teams stand in the led up to the 2022 season.  

Jacksonville Jaguars

Another season, another number one overall pick for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Year after year the Jags are picking at the top of the draft, they may actually spend more time analyizing college data than PicksforTonight’s college football computer pick model. The Jaguars were expected to take a step forward in 2021 under rookie Trevor Lawrence, who was touted by some as the most NFL ready QB to come out of the draft in many years. Instead, the Jags found themselves in a familiar position finishing with a league-worst record of 3-14. Jacksonville’s prospects weren’t helped by the performance of first-year head coach Urban Meyer, who was fired after 13 games and multiple humiliating scandals. 

The Jaguars are ready to put last season’s embarrassment behind them with Super Bowl champion Doug Pederson at the helm. For the Jags to emerge from the league cellar, Lawrence must cut down on turnovers and get more comfortable in the offense. In addition, top pick Trayvon Walker should help boost the defense, which the team invested heavily in improving during free agency. The team also spent to acquire Christian Kirk, who should serve as the team’s top receiver and deep threat. Despite these improvements, the Jags are still a long shot to win the division (+700).     

Houston Texans

2022 is expected to be yet another rebuilding year for the Texans. Recent years have seen the departures of Texans legends J.J. Watt, DeAndre Hopkins, and Deshaun Watson. Now the team will look to see what it has in Davis Mills, and head coach Lovie Smith as they attempt to chart their future. Mills was a pleasant surprise for the Texans in 2021. The third-round pick played well down the stretch and broke the franchise record for the most passing yards in a season by a rookie. The fact that the team has yet to trade receiver Brandin Cooks and tackle

Laremy Tunsil shows that the franchise isn’t throwing in the towel in 2022. The Texans may not be a great pick for NFL futures, but their point spreads will be so large week to week there is an opportunity to be profitable. Check out PicksforTonight for their NFL picks against the spread every week to see which way their computer model is picking the Texans games. At the end of the day the team is flushed with draft picks from the Watson trade and young talent after drafting cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. and guard Kenyon Green in the 1st round of this year’s draft. The Texans are clearly building for the future, making them a long shot to capture a division title this year (+2500).     

Tennessee Titans

The Titans dominated the AFC South in 2021, losing only one division game all season. They entered the playoffs as the AFC’s #1 seed but were bounced by the eventual conference champions in Cincinnati. This year head coach Mike Vrabel will have his sights set on three peating as division champs and finally make a deep run in the playoffs. The return of 2020 Offensive Player of the Year Derrick Henry after missing a big chunk of last season to a Jones fracture will provide a huge boost for the team. Ryan Tannehill will look to bounce back from a down 2021 season, but will be without star receiver A.J. Brown who was traded to the Eagles this offseason. Tennessee will look to fill Brown’s production gap by relying on Julio Jones and new acquisition Robert Woods. 2022 is set to be a make-or-break season for Vrabel and Tannehill. After back-to-back early playoff exits, Titans ownership is expecting a deep run. That all starts with winning the division, and the Titan’s odds of making it three in a row are +135.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts had a heart-breaking ending to the 2021 season, losing to the lowly Jaguars in week 18 to miss the playoffs. Now, Indianapolis hopes that new QB Matt Ryan can get the team over the hump and deliver a postseason berth. Ryan will rely on playmakers like Michael Pittman Jr. , who enjoyed a breakout year last season, and Jonathan Taylor who led the league in rushing yards and touchdowns. The Colts’ defense is expected to be stout again this year as pro bowlers DeForest Buckner and Darius Leonard lead a unit that finished in the top ten in points allowed in 2021. The defense should also benefit from the addition of Raiders defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who notched 10 sacks last season. Indianapolis is banking on Ryan’s consistent play to take the team from good to great and win the division for the first time since 2014. Vegas like the Colt’s odds and has them as the favorite to capture the title at -105

Think you know who will run away with the AFC South this year? Well then why don’t you lay down some cash to back it up? Be sure you aren’t using your own cash though, take advantage of the sportsbook offers in your state. The books are giving away free cash for signing up for a new account, so get a new account for this season and start your bankroll off with some of the house’s money. 

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