The AFC South Futures Market seems to be a coronation of the Jacksonville Jaguars right now. The Jaguars are currently favorites against the field with -150 being the best available line. But should they be? I’ll break down the bull/bear case for each team below and share my projections for how many games each team will win as I did in my NFC North Futures Article.
Best Available Division Prices in Market
Jacksonville Jaguars -150 (DraftKings)
Tennessee Titans +400 (DraftKings)
Indianapolis Colts +550 (FanDuel, MGM Grand, Caesars)
Houston Texans +950 (Caesars)
The Bull Case – Houston has way more stability at the coaching position. David Culley and Lovie Smith were lame-duck placeholders the past two years. As was a lot of the roster. Houston finally made their mark hiring one of the more sought out coaches available this off-season in DeMeco Ryans. They made a concerted effort to improve the offense this off-season with the acquisitions of Offensive Guard Shaq Mason, Tight End Dalton Schultz, Running back Devin Singletary, and Wide Receiver Robert Woods. And the most important acquisition of them all is they spent the 2nd overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on Quarterback C.J. Stroud who they hope is the franchise QB of the future.
The Bear Case – This was a team that had the worst record in football entering the final week of the season last year. They added a lot of pieces due to the enormous holes throughout the roster. The growing pains of a first time Head Coach, Rookie Quarterback, and trying to find some continuity after a gigantic roster overhaul.
The Bull Case – They’ve paired a new head coach in Shane Steichen, who ran a very successful Philadelphia Eagles offense last year, with a dynamic rookie Quarterback in Anthony Richardson who is the most athletic Quarterback we’ve ever seen enter the league.
The Bear Case – The unknown of a first year head coach, and a Quarterback who despite his athletic profile, was not very successful in College as a passer. The exodus of two important veterans in Cornerback Stephon Gilmore and Linebacker Bobby Okereke. The fact that this was one of the more depleted rosters in the NFL last year, and they didn’t make many acquisitions to improve it.
The Bull Case – The growth of Quarterback Trevor Lawrence as he enters year three in the league, and his 2nd year under Head Coach Doug Pederson. The playoff experience they gained last year. Wide Receiver Calvin Ridley bringing another dynamic to the passing game. The growth of 2nd year defensive players EDGE Rusher Travon Walker, and Linebacker’s Devin Lloyd and Chad Muma. The easiness of having a schedule with six games against soft divisional opponents.
The Bear Case – The Concerns about the secondary still remain. They match-up poorly against top passing offenses in the Conference, even though that’s not as big a threat within the division. Questions about if the Offensive Line has improved or perhaps gotten worse.
The Bull Case – Head Coach Mike Vrabel seems to always maximize what little he has to work with. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Running back Derrick Henry are still there. They drafted Quarterback Will Levis, but didn’t commit to a full re-build. Their front seven still looks to be very good.
The Bear Case – Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry are still there. Their best years are likely to be behind them as their downward trend continues.
Power Ratings and Projected Win Totals
Houston Texans – 27th in my Power Ratings. 7.69 Projected Wins
Indianapolis Colts – 31st in my Power Ratings. 6.22 Projected Wins
Jacksonville Jaguars – 17th in my Power Ratings. 9.2 Projected Wins
Tennessee Titans – 28th in my Power Ratings. 6.88 Projected Wins
Despite the market making Houston the worst team in the division, I like them to be the 2nd place team behind Jacksonville, so will look at some betting opportunities in line with that thinking.
Bets I’m Making for AFC South Division
Jacksonville 1st Place/Houston Texans 2nd Place Straight Forecast – +600 (DraftKings and Bet365)
Bets I’m Making for Win Totals
Houston Texans Over 5.5 -131 – Found at BetMGM