AFC SOUTH DIVISION 2009 FOOTBALL PREVIEW
Thought by many to be the toughest division in the NFL, the AFC South has fielded only two teams that have suffered a losing record the last three years.
As a result these teams are 23-10 SU and 24-9 ATS as non-division dogs of less than six points in that span, including 7-0 SU and ATS last season.
Will the South rise again in 2009? Stay tuned.
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Here is my take of teams in the AFC SOUTH DIVISION for 2009. Coming up next: the AFC WEST DIVISION.
Team Theme – KNOCK, KNOCK
It’s been seven years without a winning season for the Houston Texans. So, who’s counting? The fans of the franchise have not panicked – not since the hiring of Gary Kubiak in 2006. That’s because Kubiak has the Texans knocking on the door with 8-8 seasons each of the last two years. Confidence comes from knowing the offense has improved each and every year under Kubiak’s command. The Cowpokes are 15-6 SU and 17-4 ATS under Kubiak in games in which they’ve managed to score 23 or more points. Heck, Houston even managed to win three games in a row (and then four) for the first time in franchise history last season. If there has been a knock on the Texan’s play under Coach ‘K’, it’s been their lack of success within the division. Long the doormat of the AFC South, Houston has only six wins in its last 18 division games but, then again, who’s counting? PLAY ON: as a home dog vs. Tennessee (11/23)
Team Theme – ALL IN THE FAMILY
Only one team in NFL history can lay claim to the fact they have won a dozen or more games six years in a row. In addition, only one team in the league has made an appearance in the playoffs each of the last seven years. We’re speaking, of course, about Indianapolis. For a team that enjoyed all that success, its off-season was filled with transition. Gone is future Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy, his offensive and defensive coordinators, and the offensive line coach. To compensate for the losses, the team promoted from within the organization, naming Dungy’s assistant, Jim Caldwell the new boss, while assigning job duties to other former assistants. If the Colts are going to extend the numbers noted above they will need to shore up the weakest rushing offense in the league. It’s a good thing this is still Peyton’s place. PLAY ON: vs. Denver (12/13)
Team Theme –JACK IN THE BOX
So much for being labeled a “wise guy” team last year. Jacksonville’s fall from grace resulted in a 7-game decline from 2007 to 2008. After the dust finally settled, the Jaguars logged SU losses as favorites on six different occasions, the most in the NFL last season. To add insult to injury, Jacksonville failed to land a single player on the Pro Bowl team for the first time since its inaugural year in 1995. The main culprit was cluster injuries to the offensive line, an issue that was addressed during the off-season. This much we know… head coach Jack Del Rio does not take to losing very well. Only twice did he fail to produce a winning record as a head coach in the NFL. He followed both of those losing years with winning efforts going 21-13 SU and 22-12 ATS, including an impressive 17-5 SU and ATS against non-division foes. One might be “wise” to follow that trend this year. PLAY ON: as a road dog vs. Houston (9/27)
Team Theme – OPEN WIDE
There are losses and then there are big losses. The loss of Pro Bowl DT Albert Haynesworth is a mighty big loss for the Titans. As astutely pointed out by Matty B. in this year’s NFL preview on these pages, Tennessee was 28-11 with the big man in the lineup and only 3-7 without him. Couple Haynesworth’s departure with the loss of DC Jim Schwartz to the Detroit Lions and we’re talking about some big holes to fill. The other cause for concern is relying on the creaky arm of Kerry Collins for a second-straight season. Our best guess is Vince Young will likely resurface before Collins digests any more liquid remedy from the fountain of youth. It’s tough fading one of our favorite coaches in the NFL, but unless Jeff Fisher can fill a big hollow space on defense, we’re not interested in drilling for winners until we’re comfortable the cavity has been filled. PLAY AGAINST: at Jacksonville (10/4)
Note: Marc Lawrence is a 30-year veteran handicapper. He finished No.1 in the nation (88-63 +25.7 Net Units) in MLB during the 2007 season as documented by Sports Watch in Las Vegas.
Comments are Welcome!!!
2 replies on “2009 NFL Divisional Previews: AFC South”
The Titans will replace Albert Haynesworth. Jason Jones had 5 sacks last year, 2.5 less than Haynesworth, they signed Jovan Haye, and drafted Marks. They also have Kevin Vickerson who played well last year. My best bet is Jason Jones starts, and will fill the hole well. The rest of the defense is great. They have the best safety tandem in the league with Michael Griffin and Chris hope. Also they have a shutdown corner in Cortland Finnegan. Nick harper is no slouch either. Their linebackers are no slouches either, with Keith Bulluck, Dave Thornton, and Stephen Tulloch. Defense will be top 5 again. Their offense is also improved. LenDale White has lost 30 lbs. and it is very visible on the practice field. He is much faster, much more agile, and will have the best season of his career. Of course Chris Johnson is going to be back, and Jeff Fisher has said that he will utilize him more often than last year, in many more ways. So he will have a better season than last year. He is also very hungry and wants the MVP. Their recievers which were their only weakness last year are improved. They drafted Kenny Britt and signed Nate Washington, Justin Gage is still there, and their other recievers from last year like Lavelle Hawkins and Chris Davis are improved. Their offensive line is arguably the best in the league, and thus their offense will be better than last years. Better than last year? They started out 10-0 and finished 13-3. I believe this years team will be better than last year, but with a more difficult schedule they will finish either 12-4, or 13-3. They will win the division and either be the 1 or 2 seed. There is a good prediction, not your hodge podge, Titans hating.
Thanks Josh, good luck to your team in 09.