Posted on: September 30, 2022, 12:01h.
Last updated on: September 30, 2022, 12:39h.
Under new head coach Doug Pederson, the Jacksonville Jaguars started the season 2-1 and snapped an 18-game road losing streak. Now, the up-and-coming Jaguars are on the prowl as the second favorite on the DraftKings’ futures board to win the AFC South at +225 odds.
The first-place Jaguars won two games in a row after an impressive road victory last Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Jaguars were a long shot at +800 odds to win the AFC South in the preseason But their updated odds vastly improved after an impressive and unexpected start.
AFC South Division Odds
- Indianapolis Colts (1-1-1) +100
- Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) +225
- Tennessee Titans (1-2) +350
- Houston Texans (0-2-1) +2500
The Indianapolis Colts (1-1-1) defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3 for their first win of the season. The Colts are the current betting favorite to win the AFC South at +100 odds.
Slow Start for Colts, Titans
During the preseason, it looked like the Colts and Tennessee Titans were in a two-way race to win the AFC South. The Titans are seeking a third-straight AFC South title, and entered the season at +175 odds to repeat. The Colts were installed as the initial favorite at -125 odds.
The Colts bobbled the playoffs last season under quarterback Carson Wentz. In the off-season, they traded Wentz to the Washington Commanders, and thought they upgraded their quarterback with Matt Ryan from the Atlanta Falcons.
Ryan struggled to start the season. Fans hope he’s not washed up, and is just adjusting to a new team and playbook. Under Ryan, the Colts are the lowest-scoring team in the league, averaging 13.3 points per game. The Colts have been profitable for under points bettors, but their offense must improve if they expect to compete for the AFC South crown.
The Titans lost their first two games of the season before defeating the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3 for their first victory of the season. The Titans have a favorable schedule over their next four games, with back-to-back road games against the Colts and Commanders before getting an early bye in Week 6. After the bye, the Titans meet the Colts again in Week 7 before they head to Houston to play the last-place Texans in Week 8.
Duval Duo: Pederson and Lawrence
Compared to last season, it’s been night and day for Lawrence. During his rookie campaign, Lawrence struggled with just 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. At the time, head coach Urban Meyer did little to prepare the #1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to play in the NFL.
Meyer might be a great college football coach, but he was ill-equipped for the NFL. Meyer’s antiquated coaching ways never meshed in the pros. He lost the locker room immediately when the veterans tuned him out. The Jaguars were one of the worst teams in the league last season under a floundering Meyer. Team owner Shad Khan fired Meyer after 13 games, but the team realized its crucial error two months too late.
The Jaguars made a much better decision when they hired Pederson, who won a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles only a few seasons ago. Pederson is also a former NFL quarterback who provided Lawrence with a much-needed mentor. Lawrence looks more comfortable running Pederson’s offense, and the Jaguars are thriving under a more-relaxed and confident Lawrence.
After a loss in the season opener against the Washington Commanders, Lawrence bounced back with back-to-back wins against the Colts and Chargers. He tossed two touchdowns in Week 2 against the Colts, then picked apart the Chargers in Week 3 with three touchdowns. He didn’t turn the ball over in either win.
You can’t deny that we’re that we’re a really good team,” Lawrence told the LA Times after beating the Chargers. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what it says about us. We know who we are. We played a complete game and to stack two weeks is big for us.”
In the first three games this season, Lawrence completed 77 of 111 passes for 772 yards and six touchdowns. He has a 69.4% completion rate, with just one interception and two sacks. His QBR rating of 70.8 is ranked #7 in the NFL. With just one pick, he’s tied for second for fewest interceptions.
— #ClemsonNFL (@ClemsonPros) September 25, 2022
Jags: Top 6 Offense, Top 5 Defense
Football Outsiders gave the Jaguars their second-best overall Defense-Adjusted-Value-Over-Average (DVOA) rating behind the Buffalo Bills. Lawrence leads an offense that’s ranked #5 in offensive DVOA. Meanwhile, the Jaguars are ranked #4 in defensive DVOA.
Old-school scouts dismiss an advanced metric like DVOA, but the raw data is tough to ignore. The Jaguars have the sixth-best scoring offense, averaging 28 points per game. On defense, the Jaguars have the fifth-best scoring defense that allows only 12.7 points per game.
Sure, it’s a small sample size after just three games, but it’s a good start. The Jaguars are finally on a path toward improvement after last year’s disastrous and lost season under Meyer.
It’s everything for this team, and that’s exactly what the guys who have been here a while are talking about,” Pederson said after Week 3’s victory against the Chargers. “It’s good to get a road win and to travel across the country like this. Hopefully it’s the start of things to come.”
Pederson and the Jaguars visit Philadelphia in Week 4 to play the undefeated Eagles. It’s a personal revenge game for Pederson, who was fired from the Eagles last season.
The Jaguars are +6.5 road dogs, but it’s their first true test of the season. The Eagles are the stronger team. But Lawrence and the offense is strong enough to keep them in the game and provide a backdoor cover. So far this season, the Jaguars are 2-1 against the spread.