OUR NFL man Louis Ross (@LouisRoss67) casts his betting eye over the AFC South. Who's he tipping for glory?
AFC South | 13th September 2015 – 3rd January 2016
You would think the AFC South is already decided. The Colts have won 10 of the 14 titles in this division and surely you would be locked up if you looked elsewhere. Get the keys ready for me. I am taking a punt…
At the end of the 2014 season, I dont think I was alone in thinking that this may well be their time in Indy. What's not to like. Andrew Luck is a future Hall of Fame Quaterback, the addition of Frank Gore from the 49ers gives them a Rushing game for the first time in forever and Andre Johnson replacing Reggie Wayne gives them all kinds of options wideout. The Colts will certainly make the post season but what was missing then is still missing now.
A credible pass rush and a solid Offensive Line are major weaknesses. That may not hinder too much against Divisional opponents but by the time they get to the serious stuff in January, it's not an issue that bigger stronger opponents will not be able to exploit. Credible favourites yes, certainties no. One and done in the playoffs?
Hands up, who has been watching the brilliant Hard Knocks? You cannot fail to have been charmed by the Head Coach Bill O'Brien, been hugely impressed by JJ Watt (by far the best Defender in the NFL) or the wonderful Charles Wright playing for his future in training camp. You want a nice each way bet for most receiving yards? DeAndre Hopkins makes you think the loss of Andre Johnson was positive.
The last episode of Hard Knocks saw the Texans decide on Brian Hoyer as their starting QB over Ryan Mallet. Apart from JJ, the key to this team will be how long it takes to get star Running Back Arian Foster fully fit but Alfred Blu and Chris Polk will fill the gap nicely. I am going against every expert here but I have a feeling the Texans can at least make it close.
The Jags are trying hard to position themselves as the UK's own team. Contracted to play a home game at Wembley for the next three years and owned by the guy who is currently ruining poor old Fulham. I have news for you Jags. It's too late. The vast majority of UK NFL fans are locked into their teams and it doesnt really help that the Jags are just, whats the word, awful.
Picking up free agent Tight End Julius Thomas was a very positive thing. Having Blake Bortles throwing to him? Not so much. Actually, Bortles is not that bad. Maybe I am being a little cruel but Jacksonville won three games in 2014. Can they win more this season? Bortles does actually have an arm. I just worry about what is around him. A couple of 2nd year Receivers. Hmm. I am going to say 6-10 for the Jags.
Just three wins in 2014. That's not good for an organisation that just four years ago was looking at a 12-0 start. Marcus Mariota was the second player taken in this years draft and they've added a few weapons for him. A very high pick was the brilliantly named Dorial Green-Beckham. Minnesota RB David Cobb was taken in the 5th Round. All very positive and hopefully the Titans may start to resemble a football team in coming years.
Short and sweet but Tennessee are in trouble. Three wins may start to look good halfway through the season as I cannot see any more. They may well find themselves with the dubious honor of the first pick in the 2016 Draft.