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  • Writer's pictureMason Dalley

2023 NFL Preview: AFC South

Team Totals, Player Props and other Season Long Picks

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Houston Texans

O/U: 6.5

Super Bowl: +18000

AFC Champion: +10000

AFC South Winner: +1000

FantasySP

2022 Record: 3-13-1(8-8-1 ATS)

2022 Offense: 30th(DVOA 31st)

2022 Defense: 27th(DVOA 22nd)

2022 Special Teams: 13th(DVOA 2nd)



Free Agency


Additions: IDL Hassan Ridgeway, S Jimmie Ward, RB Devin Singletary, QB Case Keenum, CB Darius Phillips, TE Andrew Beck, RB Mike Boone, EDGE Jacob Martin, EDGE Chase Winovich, RG Shaq Mason, IDL Byron Cowart, WR Noah Brown, TE Dalton Schultz, C Michael Deiter, LT Greg Little, CB Shaq Griffin, IDL Sheldon Rankins, LB Cory Littleton, WR Robert Woods, LB Denzel Perryman, WR Steven Sims


Re-signings: WR Jalen Camp, EDGE Derek Rivers, C Scott Quessenberry, LB Neville Hewitt, CB Tavierre Thomas, S MJ Stewart, S Eric Murray, LT Laremy Tunsil


Departures: WR Drew Estrada, RB Darius Anderson, RB Royce Freeman, IDL Taylor Stallworth, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, RB Rex Burkehead, EDGE Martio Addison, RGH AJ Cann, C Justin Britt, EDGE Rasheem Green, QB Kyle Allen, CB Tremon SMith, TE Jordan Akins, EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, QB Jeff Driskel, WR Brandin Cooks, LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, S Jonathan Owens, RG Justin McCray, OJ Howard, WR Phillip Dorsett, WR Chris Moore


Draft

Round 1: CJ Stroud(2), Ohio State QB, Will Anderon Jr(3), Alabama EDGE

Round 2: Juice Scruggs(62), Penn State C

Round 3: Tank Dell(69), Houston WR

Round 4: Dylan Horton(109), TCU Edge

Round 5: Henry To'o To'o(167), Alabama LB

Round 6: Jarrett Patterson(201), Notre Dame C, Xavier Hutchinson(205), Iowa State WR

Round 7: Brandon Hill(248), Pittsburgh S


Undrafted Free Agents

EDGE Ali Gaye, LSU

WR Jared Wayne, Pittsburgh

RB Xazavian Valladay, Arizona State

OL Tyler Beach, Wisconsin

DB Darius Joiner, Duke

OL Dylan Deatherage, Western Michigan

P Joe Boyle, Memphis

WR Jesse Matthews, San Diego State

OL Kilian Zierer, Auburn



2023 Preview


There is optimism abound in Houston for the first time in a long time. They shouldn't be the bottom team in the AFC south this season. I know a lot of nerds who think you should hoard every pick you can didn't like their approach in the draft, but I personally loved it. There is a point in GM's tenure where you have to smash the "GO" button and Nick Caserio did.


The offense is going to be adopting the Shanahan style. New head coach DeMeco Ryans brought San Francsio's passing game coordinator with him, and that should really help CJ Stroud's development. What will also help Stroud out is the fact that the offensive line is good. No seriously, the offensive line for the Texans isn't a problem. Laremy Tunsil is a beast and has been a great blinside blocker for almost a decade at this point. Tytus Howard is a solid right tackle and should be fine going forward. They added Shaq Mason, a proven exceptional guard at his peak, and even if he's past his prime, Mason will still be a productive strong side blocker. The interior is really young between Juice Scruggs, Kendrick Green, and RIley Patterson, but Scruggs' sheer size and Pattersons' pedigree should play well at the NFL level. The Texans also have a completely fine set of pass catchers and dare I say one of the best running back rooms in the whole NFL. You can do a lot worse than Neco Collins, Robert Woods, Noah Brown, Jon Metchie, and Dalton Schultz, especially for a rookie QB to throw to. Dameon Piere is a beast, he's a country boy who runs hard. Devin Singletary is a great scat back that was underutilized in Buffalo and Mike Boone is solid depth. The offense should take a step a forward and rank somewhere in the 3rd quartile of NFL offenses.


The defense was also in that 3rd quartile and should be at least in the 2nd quartile this season. DeMeco Ryans has been coaching a great defense in San Fran and he's taking that scheme and mentality to the team that drafted him. I loved them trading picks to get Will Anderson Jr. He's a beast and is Khalil Mack come again. Anderson will be productive ASAP and help a defense that was already not horrible. Ryans brought Jimmie Ward and Hassan Ridgeway to help the younger players along in a new system. Old man Jerry Hughes can still speed rush with the best of them, and the addition of Sheldon Rankins will help shore up the interior. If Derek Stingley Jr. can make the leap into a productive corner, I would not be shocked if the defense is a top 10 unit. The talent is there, the coaching is there, it's all about how it coalesces .


OVER OR UNDER

6.5 is lofty. While the Texans will for sure be better than they were in 2022, going from 3 wins to 7 is hard. I think they can win 6 games, and if it all completely clicks 8 is on the table, but I think I'm going under here.


Player Prop

Dameon Pierce OVER 900.5. He's a year over year 1000 yard rusher in the making.





Indianapolis Colts

O/U: 6.5

Super Bowl: +10000

AFC Champion: +6500

AFC South Winner: +550

Twitter/@JimIrsay


2022 Record: 4-12-1(6-11 ATS)

2022 Offense: 31st( DVOA 32nd)

2022 Defense: 30th(DVOA 14th)

2022 Special Teams: 6th(DVOA 26th)


Free Agency


Additions: EDGE Samsomn Ebukam, WR Isaiah McKenzie, TE Pharoah Brown, IDL Taven Bryan, LB Genard Avery, WR Breshad Perriman, RG Dakoda Shepley, QB Gardner Minshew, K Matt Gay


Re-signings: LB EJ Speed, LT Carter O'Donnell, RB Deon Jackson, EDGE Khalid Kareem, EDGE Tony Brown, WR Ashton Dulin, EDGE Tyquan Lewis


Departures: IDL Byron Cowart, WR Kristian Wilkerson, CB Brandon Facyson, LB Bobby Okereke, WR Parris Campbell, IDL Ben Banogu, CB Stephon Gilmore, IDL Chris Williams, P Matt Hack, K Chase McLaughlin, S Rodney McLeod, ID L Kameron Cline, LT Matt Pryor, RB D'vonte Price, TE Nikola Kalinic, S Armani Watts, RT Dennis Kelly, QB Nick Foles, EDGE Yannick Ngakoue, QB Matt Ryan


Draft

Round 1: Anthony Richardson(4), Florida QB

Round 2: Julius Brents(44), Kansas State CB

Round 3: Josh Downs(79), North Carolina WR

Round 4: Blake Freeland(106), BYU T, Adetomiwa Adebawore(110) Northwestern EDGE

Round 5: Darius Rush(138), South Carolina CB, Daniel Scott(158), Cal S, Will Mallory(162), Miami(FL) TE, Evan Hull(176), Northwestern RB

Round 6: Titus Leo(211), Wagner EDGE, Jaylon Jones(221), Texas A&M CB

Round 7: Jake Witt(236), Northern Michigan OT


Undrafted Free Agents

RB Darius Hagans, Virginia State

RB Titus Swen, Wyoming

WR Zavier Scott, Maine

WR Cody Chrest, Sam Houston State

WR Johnny King, Southeast Missouri

WR Braxton Westfield, Carson-Newman

OG Harris LaChance, BYU

OL Emil Ekiyor, Alabama

EDGE Guy Thomas, Colorado

IDL Caleb Sampson, Kansas

LB Donovan Mutin, Houston

LB Liam Anderson, Holy Cross

CB Tyler Richardson, Tiffin

CB Cole Coleman, Elon

S Aaron Maddox, Campbell



2023 Preview


The Colts are an abject disaster. They have an incredible propaganda wing. Pat McAfee and PFF gas them up to a point where I truly believe that they are on Jim Irsay's payroll. I'll get into why they are in Arizona Caleb's territory but I just want to say that all that hype they have surrounding them shouldn't exist. It feels incredibly shortsighted and I legitimately do not understand it.


The offense was abysmal and they lost talent. Starting receiver Parris Campbell is gone and so is starting LT Matt Pryor. Michael Pittman has yet to reach his ceiling and at this point it's hard to not to say he is who he is. Alec Pierce is good but should be a high value #3 instead of a #1 possession receiver. The offensive line regressed last season in a big way and that removed their ground game as an effective option. Quneton Nelson since getting paid in 2021 has gone from the best guard in the NFL to pedestrian. Ryan Kelley has regressed at Center. Jonathan Taylor is holding out and will likely not take any snaps for the Colts this season. Oh and they're throwing a rookie QB who is a raw ball of talent and nowhere near a finished product into that fire on offense. The thing about the Colts propaganda that has bothered me the most is that its being stated as fact that Shane Steichen can just recreate the Eagles offense in Indy because Anthony Richardson is an athletic QB who can be dynamic in the run game. It's beyond dumb. Steichen no doubt is a good coordinator who did good work with Jalen Hurts, but it really feels like he's getting too much credit for his development. I've watched Jalen Hurts entire college career and remember his NFL debut. He has improved every single year as a QB and that has let his freak-show strength and athleticism flourish. It was never a question of if, but when Hurts would put it together, and he has. I do believe that the single biggest factor in Hurts' success is the environment he's been placed in.


To compare the Eagles to the Colts at an organizational level is to compare a finished mansion that a family has had for generations to a home that needs more love than might be worth it. The Eagles have good ownership, a great front office, and a phenomenal roster. The Colts have none of that. The new worst owner in the NFL is Jim Irsay, who'd rather fly Orca's across country than use his cap space to keep his good players. Chris Ballard has done a very poor job as a GM. The team has been a revolving door at QB since Luck retired in 2019. Instead of swallowing the poison pill and blowing it up all the way, the Colts settled for mediocrity with a flash of a good play in 2020. Signing Carson Wentz only to trade him a year later and then dragging out old man Matt Ryan was disastrous. Ballard has drafted good players, but he has yet to draft a good player at a high value position. He then paid said low value positions a ton of money leaving little money to target high value postions. Shaq Leonard and Quenton Nelson were awesome football players. They are not 14% of your salary cap players in 2023, and 18% going forward.


I'm saying all of this to say, reducing the Eagles offense to "running QB go brrr" is insane. The roster was expertly constructed to allow a QB to take major strides in and the Colts couldn't be further from that. You can go position for position on offense and will not find a player on the Colts that is better than a player on the Eagles. Maybe Quenton Nelson is better than Landon Dickerson, but last year he wasn't. Jalen Hurts had the benefit of two hall fame offensive lineman, Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson, playing in front of him. They've drafted developed Cam Jurgens and Jordan Mailata into great players. The Eagles went out and traded for AJ Brown a year after they drafted the Slim Reaper, who was teammates with Hurts by the way. The Eagles defense also has great players that were constantly providing the offense with short fields. Jalen Hurts could not have possibly been drafted to a better situation and he has taken advantage of that. The Colts are a building on fire and they gave Anthony Richardson a pail of water and told him to put it out. It's going to be bad on offense and this isn't even getting to the defense yet, which got worse than it was last year.


I feel bad for DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart. They don't deserve to be playing on a defense that is sub-standard everywhere else. Losing Yannick Ngakoue and Stephon Gilmore is hurting more than it should, but but that's what happens when you can't draft. The secondary is bad and old. Shaq Leonard just couldn't get on the field last year and he plays a brutal brand of linebacker that will make it hard for him to stay healthy. EJ Speed is good, but he's an off-ball linebacker that comes off the field in obvious passing situations. Samson Ebukam will produce off of Grover Stewart and DeForest Buckner but is a big Leonard Floyd type player that finishes plays and doesn't create them. It's a bad scene. Don't believe the propaganda


OVER OR UNDER

Under. I feel bad for Anthony Richardson. This environment he's in just isn't suited for player development and the roster is the worst in the division.


Player Prop

OVER on Alec Pierce 575.5. Someone has to catch the ball





Tennessee Titans

O/U: 7.5

Super Bowl: +6000

AFC Champion: +4000

AFC South Winer: +310

USA Today


2022 Record: 7-10(9-7-1 ATS)

2022 Offense: 28th(DVOA 21st)

2022 Defense: 15th(DVOA 19th)

2022 Special Teams: 32nd(DVOA 24th)



Free Agency


Additions: WR Deandre Hopkins, LB Azeez Al-Shaair, RG Daniel Brunskill, TE Trevon Wesco, CB Sean Murphy-Bunting, LB Ben Nieman, LB Luke Gifford, LT Andre Dillard, IDL Jaleel Johnson, EDGE Arden Key, WR Chris Moore


Re-signings: LG Aaron Brewer, C Corey Levin, IDL Jeffery Simmons, LS Morgan Cox, IDL Naquan Jones, WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, IDL Teair Tart


Departures: CB AJ Moore, S Andrew Adams, C Ben Jones, WR CJ Board, WR Cody Hollister, EDGE Da'Shawn Hand, C Daniel Munyer, CB Davontae Harris, RB Davontae Harris, RB Dontrell Hillard, TE Geoff Swaim, LB Joseph Jones, S Joshua Kalu, K Randy Bullock, LT Taylore Lewan, CB Terrance Mitchell, RB Trenton Cannon, LB Zach Cunningham, WR Chris Conley, IDL Demarcus Walker, LB Dylan Cole, RG Nate Davis, EDGE Tarell Basham, QB Josh Dobbs, RG Dennis Daley, IDL Kevin Strong, LB David Long Jr, lB Andre Smith, EDGE Bud Dupree, CB Greg Mabin, TE Austin Hooper, CB Lonnie Johnson Jr, IDL Mario Edwards Jr., RT Le'Raven Clark, WR Robert Woods



Draft

Round 1: Peter Skoronski(11), Northwestern OT

Round 2: Will Levis(33), Kentucky QB

Round 3: Tyjae Spears(81), Tulane RB

Round 5: Josh Whyle(147), Cincinnati TE

Round 6: Jaelyn Duncan(186), Maryland OT

Round 7: Colton Dowell(228), Tennessee-Martin WR


Undrafted Free Agents

DT Shakel Brown, Troy

WR Jacob Copeland, Maryland

WR Tre'Shaun Harrison, Oregon State

S Matthew Jackson, Eastern Kentucky

CB Steven Jones, Appalachian State

S Tyreque Jones, Boise State

CB Anthony Kendall, Baldwin Wallace

RB Chuck McClelland, Cincinnati

DE TK McClendon, Eastern Kentucky

OLB Caleb Murphy, Ferris State

OT John Ojukwu, Boise State

LB Otis Reese, Ole Miss

OLB Thomas Rush, Minnesota

K Trey Wolff, Texas Tech



2023 Preview


The Tennessee Titans have experienced massive roster churn, and when roster churn is thrown out as a term, it is typically a bad thing. For the most part it is, continuity is king when it comes to successful anything in life, let alone just in football. Tennessee swallowed the poison pill that the Colts refused to, and in there case it will probably be fine. Ran Carthon is replacing Jon Robinson to oversee the re-tooling with Vrabel and its starting off positively. With this being Tannehill's last year on the books, the Titans are positioning themselves to have plenty of cap space to support Will Levis with in his 2nd year, and that support started by drafting Peter Skoronski to be a mauler up front after they signed Daniel Brunskill in the offseason, who already greatly improves their oft-injured offensive line. Andre Dillard comes over from Philly to man the blindside, taking over for long time tackle Taylor Lewan. Deandre Hopkins joins the Tennessee receiving corp, which with Hopkins goes from dire to pretty good. Hopkins, Burks, NWI, Okonkwo, and Kyle Phillips is a solid group of receiving options that will be able to threaten more off of their great run game led by Derrick Henry. Tannehill is exceptionally average but he's never been a starter for a downright terrible team. He's in the Derek Carr zone of QB's in my opinion. Despite the crazy roster churn on offense, I think the Titans are in a fine spot and should score more than they did last year, which will reflect their overall offensive efficiency from last season.


Where Tennessee demonstrably improved was in pass coverage. You end up the 15th ranked defense in the NFL when you're #1 in Rush Defense and #32 in Pass defense. The rush defense will be in that top 5 range as long as Vrabel is there and they have the front 7 to do it. Jeffery Simmons is a monster. I think only Aaron Donald and Chris Jones are better than Simmons on the inside. Simmons is the total package and his running mate on the inside is run stuffer extraordinaire Teair Tart. Tart squats in front of the center and wrecks rush plays with the best of them. Add in EDGE who can move inside Denico Autry and you've got a nasty, mean group of interior lineman. What will help out the pass defense tremendously are the veterans the Titans added in the offseason. Arden Key had a sneaky great season in Jacksonville in 2022. 44 QB pressures and 18 run stops is very solid and just adding production in the pass rush game from the edge will help out the Tennessee Secondary. This is a great addition considering Harold Landry III is coming back after missing the whole of 2022 with injury. Landry III in 2021 racked up 64 pressures, 14 sacks, and 39 run stops in 837 total snaps. He's a very productive player and again, Tennessee is adding high level production off the edge to a team with sickos in the middle.


While the additions of Key and Landry III are massive, I think the Titans biggest wins of the off-season on defense were signing Azeez Al-Shaair to play Linebacker and Sean Murphy-Bunting to play corner. Al-Shaair is a direct improvement over David Long, as while they are similar in coverage and the run game, Al-Shaair is a heat seeking missile of an A gap blitzer and is overall more athletic than David Long. SMB takes so much pressure off the corner room. Christian Fulton and Roger McCreary will be able to play their preferred positions of field-side corner and slot corner respectively. This makes the lives of Kevin Byard and Amani Hooker easier, and overall the pass defense is going to be at a higher level than it was in 2022. From a better pass rush, more athletic linebackers, and the addition of a high level boundary corner, the pass defense should positively regress to average.


OVER OR UNDER

Over. Vrabel is too good, the roster churn was actually positive, and they still should be racking up wins against Houston and Indy.


Player Prop

Derrick Henry OVER 1150.5 at -110. Book It.




Jacksonville Jaguars

O/U: 9.5

Super Bowl: +2800

AFC Champion: +1500

AFC South Winner: -155

Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

2022 Record: 9-8(9-8 ATS)

2022 Offense: 10th(DVOA 9th)

2022 Defense: 12th (DVOA 26th)

2022 Special Teams: 10th(DVOA 11th)



Free Agency


Additions: WR Jacob Harris, LG Chandler Brewer, IDL Henry Mondeaux, IDL Michael Dogbe, LT Josh Wells, RB D'Ernest Johnson, K Brandon McManus


Re-signings: CB Tre Herndon, WR Tim Jones, CB Tevaughn Campbell, IDL Roy Robertson-Harris, RB Jamycal Hasty, TE Evam Engram, IDL Davon Hamilton, LG Cole van Lanen, CJ Beathard, RT Blake Hance, S Andrew Wingard, IDL Adam Gotsis.


Departures: EDGE Arden Key, CB Shaq Griffin, K Riley Patterson, WR Marvin Jones, WR Dan Arnold, RT Jawaan Taylor, TE Chris Manhertz, WR Willie Johnson, EDGE Dawuane Smoot, RB Darrell Henderson, IDL Corey Peters


Draft

Round 1: Anton Harrison(27), Oklahoma T

Round 2: Brenton Strange(61), Penn State TE

Round 3: Tank Bigsby(88), Auburn RB

Round 4: Ventrell Miller(121), Florida LB, Tyler Lacy(130), Oklahoma State EDGE

Round 5: Yasir Abdullah(136), Louisville EDGE, Antonio Johnson(160), Texas A&M S

Round 6: Parker Washington(185), Penn State WR, Christian Braswell(202), Rutgers CB, Erick Hallett II(208) Pittsburgh S

Round 7: Cooper Hodges(226), Appalachian State OT, Raymond Vohasek(227), North Carolina IDL, Derek Parish(240), Houston FB


Undrafted Free Agents

IDL Jayson Ademilola, Notre Dame

EDGE DJ Coleman, Missouri

WR Elijah Cooks, San Jose State

CB Kaleb Hayes, BYU

LB Dequan Jackson, Colorado State

OL Samuel Jackson, UCF

WR Jaray Jenkins, LSU

WR Oliver Martin, Nebraska

TE Leonard Taylor, Cincinnati

CB Divaad Wilson, UCF



2023 Preview


The Jags are a good football team. There's no ifs, ands, or buts about it. The started off 3-7, had the bye week, and finished 9-8. It coincided with Trevor Lawrence taking a leap in terms of decisions making and letting the game come to him instead of trying to make the heroic pass every single play. All he needs to do is continue that trend on offense and the team has a baseline of success. The Jaguars are helping him out by bolstering the offense with their first three draft picks. Anton Harrison is plug and play on the right side of the line, Brenton Strange is another pass catching threat from the TE spot, and Tank Bigsby offers a different look in the run game. This is all with Calvin Ridley returning from his gambling suspension so the offense will be humming as long as Trevor keeps improving and Dougy P keeps calling the plays.


The defense still needs work. While their scoring numbers look good, they got punked by some really good offenses in 2022. Their DVOA looks bad because they gave up a ton of yards in 2022, ranking 24th in that number allowing a total of 6,006 on the season. They also we're pretty lucky when it came to turnovers. They had a drives ending in a turnover rate of 14.4% and were the 3rd least penalized defense in teh NFL last season. It all feels a little Paper Tigery. This all over the place defense in terms of metrics can be attributed to the last place schedule Jacksonville played. You overperform against terrible teams and and that can buoy what's an otherwise below average defense. I do think The Jags defense should be somewhere around 18th in the NFL in 2023. They have a legitiamte star in Josh Allen, and Foyesade Oluokun is a tackle machine. Tyson Campbell can be a lockdown corner, and Andre Cisco is a playmaking safety. The defense is fine, and be on the lookout for a Trayvon Walker breakout season. If the 2022 #1 overall pick can turn their pass rush into a dynamic duo instead of a one man band, Sacksonville will be back on the map.


OVER OR UNDER

Over. Even with the 1st place schedule, I can't see fewer than 11 wins for the Jaguars


Player Prop

Trevor Lawrence at +1500 for MVP is juicy. It's not that crazy, especially if he leads a passing category and Jacksonville wins 12+ games.
















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