06 September 2007

NFL previews: AFC South

First game's tonight, so time to wrap these things up.

Houston Texans

Total wins: 61/2
I think last year they were set at five, I said take the under, then they went on a monstrous two-game win streak to close out the season with six wins. Just to spite me. At least that's how I remember it. Could they improve on that this year? New QB, new RB; who knows?

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say they win three in the division. It's not that much of a stretch; they did the same last year. Did you remember they swept Jac last year? They also beat Ind in December when the latter were resting starters. They close the season with @Ind and TN this year, so who knows? How about two from the AFCW? They get KC at home, that's winnable, Den at home late, @Oak, which they won last year; the only one I can't see them winning is @SD, so I don't think two is out of the question. Then they get the NFCS, which is a pretty weak division; they could take two of those. Round it out with Mia and @Cle; surely they can win one of those, right?

That's eight. Did I just talk myself into calling the Texans a .500 team? I think I did. I'm seriously thinking over on this one. And I don't think they'll just beat fellow crappy teams either; this team has a pretty strong spoiler history. Remember when they beat Mia in week one a few years ago back when Mia was good? Or that Dal game their first year? I'm feelin' this, I really am.

Division champ: 8–1
But let's keep those high expectations realistic.

SB champ: 100–1
I haven't completely lost my mind.

Week one: –3 KC
How embarrassing for KC that they're underdogs in this one. I guess 'cause they're on the road. I think Hou can win this one, but I don't know by how much. Too early to start betting on this team till we've seen Schaub a few times.

Full disclosure: Are you serious? Where the hell would I have met a Texans fan? Actually, I remember chatting with a guy from Houston the year before the team's first season while waiting in an airport security line. He seemed pretty excited about the city getting a team. I'm sure he's a fan. I don't think I'm biased here, though.

Indianapolis Colts

Total wins: 101/2
Barring a Super Bowl hangover this team should have no trouble putting up twelve. Four in the division is conservative. Three from the AFCW seems about right; they could lose to Den or @SD. I actually think they can sweep the NFCS, but I'll say three. That leaves NE and @Bal. They've been beating NE lately and I think that'll continue, but that December road game is exactly the kind they have a bad habit of losing. That makes eleven games. I know I was holding back on a couple of those numbers but still, that seems close. Can you close your eyes and picture this team going 10–6? I can. Skip it. But I think they'll win fifteen next year.

Division champ: 2–5
Easy pick, but ixnay on the sub-one odds.

SB champ: 8–1
I don't see this team repeating. Too many losses from an already-suspect defense.

Week one: –6 NO
I think they'll win this. They always open the season strong, and NO's in for a back-to-earth eye-opener before they really get rolling this year. On the other hand, the spread's a little too wide to bet on Ind's defense vs. Reggie Bush.

Full disclosure: I don't know any Colts fans. I don't think I know anyone from Indiana.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Total wins: 9
This team smells 8–8 to me, even with the QB question settled. Their receivers kind of suck, and I don't see Dennis Northcutt as the answer at the position. I'll say three division wins, splits across the board. Two from the AFCW; I think they'll win their home games (SD, Oak). I guess two from the NFCS, too.

This is a tough division, because I feel like there are a lot of uncertain teams here. Jac and TN could both be either a lot better or a lot worse than people think. Plus they play the NFCS, and I feel the same way about TB and Car. This whole thing could play out a bunch of different ways.

Anyway, that leaves Buf and @Pit. Um... split? That's nine. It's time to admit I have no idea what I'm talking about here. I don't know if this team'll be any good or not.

Division champ: 9–4
Seems like pretty short odds for a team in the same division as Ind, but I guess if the latter slip, these guys are the best bet to step in and take it. Still, no sense betting against Manning till he actually gets hurt.

SB champ: 30–1
Not really feelin' this one.

Week one: –61/2 TN
That spread's way too big for a team that just switched QBs. Skip this.

Full disclosure: My buddy Kn— was living in Jacksonville for a while. He was working for Habitats for Humanity, and the Jags contribute to them, so the guys doing the work would get hooked up with free tickets. Kn— said they kind of had to go or it would look rude, but I don't think any of them were particularly interested in football. So anyway, no I don't know any fans.

Nashville Titans

Total wins: 7
Surprised this team isn't getting more love from Vegas, but what do I know? Based on the numbers I gave the other teams that leaves two division wins for these guys. Seems low at first glance but... lose to Ind and split Hou and Jac? I can see it. They seem like the kind of team that could struggle out of the gate before pulling it together. Since they don't play any AFCW teams till the second half of the season, I'll give 'em three there. On the other hand, they play all their NFCS games by the first week in November, so I'm gonna say one there. That leaves @Cin and NYJ. That could be an important late-December game for the Jets, who may be on the cusp of a wild card spot, which means of course they'll fuckin' lose it. I think Cin's the better team, though, so one there. That's seven. Moving on...

Division champ: 10–1
So these guys have a higher over-under than Hou, but longer odds to win the division, which begs what I think is a very important question: does Vegas take the Madden cover curse into account? It certainly looks that way, doesn't it? This is actually kind of a tempting bet with odds that long. I mean, why not, right? Ind, that's why.

SB champ: 60–1
Can we bet on this for like... 2009? Or ’10?

Week one: +61/2 @Jac
Like I said above, pass.

Full disclosure: I know a couple guys in Nashville, but none of 'em grew up there. The brothers L— probably stayed true to the Bears, but I think R— adopted the Tights. Not sure though.

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