For now, Colts lose

August 14, 2007 3:35 AM
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EDITORS NOTE: This is the sixth in an eight-week series of NFL teasers offering pertinent news and notes. GamingToday’s 2007 pro football preview edition featuring writers Andy Iskoe, Jim Feist, Richard Saber, Denny The Dog and a cast of thousands will be published Sept. 4, two days prior to the season opener.

This week: AFC South

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are back to their losing ways in preseason, which means they are on track to defend their Super Bowl title.

Peyton Manning made his token appearance at QB against Dallas, came up with points and departed unhurt. He’s ready for another ad.

Coach Tony Dungy has never been too concerned with winning exhibition games (he’s 1-4 SU and ATS in the last 5). We see Detroit as a solid play in pre-Week 3, even with the game at Indy.

Vegas books are not showing the love Indy deserves as defending world champ. Station Casinos, for example, rates the Colts third at 6/1 behind AFC rivals San Diego 5/1 and Super Bowl favorite New England (5/2). No different at the Hilton or Caesars Palace.

To repeat, the Colts need to match last year’s stats. They were +9 in turnover ratio, 10-0 straight up as a home favorite and 3-0 against the spread as an underdog.

Losing by 13 at Dallas last week is a sign Dungy is not altering the game plan. With 11 days to prepare for a home date with the Bears, this might be Indy’s best shot at a preseason victory and cover.

Colts vitals:

Last year: 15-4 SU, 11-8 ATS.

O/U: 10-9 under

Turnover ratio: +9

2006 exhibition (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS):

IND (+5½) 17-19 at St. Louis (39)

IND (-2½) 17-30 v Seattle (38½)

IND (-3½) 27-14 at N.Orlns (40½)

IND (+3) 3-20 v Cincinnati (40)

2007 exhibition: (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)

IND (+5½) 10-23 at Dallas (34)

20, CHICAGO; 25, DETROIT; 31, at Cincinnati.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are 25/1 at Station Casinos based on a disappointing 8-8 finish last year. The QB situation hasn’t changd. It’s still a working controversy.

Head Coach Jack Del Rio would probably prefer David Gerrard to step up and grab a form hold of the No. 1 QB position, ahead of talented but injury prone Byron Leftwich.

For sure, the Jaguars need to improve a horrendous -9 turnover ratio within the division. Despite a nice rookie season from ex-UCLA tailback/kick returner Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jags closed the year 0-3 both SU and ATS to play themselves out of a playoff berth.

Preseason play from different, a year ago. Jacksonville was a solid 3-1 both SU and ATS, including an 11-point win over Tampa Bay.

The Jags will see the Bucs again this Saturday at home, which could be their most focused effort considering the pre-Week 3 game at Green Bay comes with just five days to prepare.

Drew was a sleeper pick in fantasy leagues last season and should see more action in a potentially awesome backfield 1-2 punch with veteran Fred Taylor.

Jaguars vitals

Last year: 8-8 SU, 2-6 ATS

O / U: 9-7 over

Turnover ratio: +1

2006 exhibition (2-2, 2-2 ATS):

JAX (+1½) 31-26 at Miami (33)

JAX (-1½) 10-17 v Carolina (34½)

JAX (-3½) 29-18 v T.Bay (34½)

JAX (+5) 20-17 at Atlanta (36)

2007 exhibition (0-1, 1-0 ATS):

JAX (+2) 17-18 at Miami (35)

18, TAMPA BAY; 23, at Green Bay; 30, WASHINGTON.

Houston Texans

A few years back we spoke 1-on-1 with the great Cowboys RB Tony Dorsett about a road matchup with Houston.

Dorsett said words to the effect of "over my dead body" when asked if he could see Dallas ever losing to the young Texans.

Well, Dallas did. And to this day, that’s the biggest win in the team’s history. Mostly, Houston is known for sub-.500 seasons and sacks of David Carr.

Time for change. Much to the chagrin of the Atlanta Falcons, Matt Schaub is the new Texans QB, with Carr having moved to Carolina as Jake Delhomme’s backup for now.

Schaub was a more accurate passer with Atlanta than Michael Vick and in training camp has developed a close relationship with stud WR Andre Johnson. AJ said he never had that bond with Carr. If the two measure up on the field, the Texans could be a real sleeper in 2007.

What must change is a -7 TO ratio in road games along with an attitude adjustment in believing they can win football games and not just being competitive.

Houston was a perfect 4-0 ATS in preseason last year. This is a bet-on team in preseason again.

Texans vitals:

Last year: 6-10 SU, 7-9 ATS

O/U: 8-8 under

Turnover ratio: -3

2006 exhibition (3-1, 4-0 ATS)

HOU (-3) 24-14 v KC (35½)

HOU (+3) 27-20 at St.L (37½)

HOU (+6) 14-17 at Denver (38)

HOU (-3) 16-13 v T.Bay (35)

2007 exhibition (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)

HOU (+2) 19-20 v Chicago (32)

18, at Arizona; 24, DALLAS; 30, at Tampa Bay.

Tennessee Titans

Year 2 of the Vince Young era in Nashville.

Even with the Colts a huge 4/11 favorite at the Hilton to win the division, optimism is high over Tennessee’s 7-1 ATS finish after an 0-5 SU start.

Jeff Fisher handed Young the QB duties in midseason and the Titans found a leader in the their top draft pick of 2006.

Assuming no sophomore jinx, Young should have the Titans in the mix for a playoff spot.

The constants need to be a repeat of last year’s 5-1 ATS within the division, a +9 turnover ratio versus Houston and Jacksonville, along with 10-3 ATS mark as an underdog.

What needs to change? Try a 1-5 SU mark against AFC teams not in the South and improvement on defense. The OVER was 11-3-2 in Titans game a year ago.

Focus on pre-Week 4 home matchup with Green Bay. The Titans won last year by 14 and may point to another win to get the season off to a good start.

Titans vitals:

Last year: 8-8, 11-5 ATS

O/U: 11-3-2 over

Turnover ratio: +2

2006 exhibition (1-3, 1-3 ATS)

TEN (-3) 16-19 at N.Orl (35½)

TEN (+6) 10-35 at Dnvr (35½)

TEN (+3) 6-20 v Atlanta (38)

TEN (-1) 35-21 at G.Bay (36)

2007 exhibition (0-1, 0-1 ATS)

TEN (-3) 6-14 v Wshngtn (35½)

17, at New England Patriots; 24, at Buffalo; 30, GREEN BAY.

Next week: The AFC North

Houston was a perfect 4-0 ATS in preseason last year. This is a bet-on team in preseason again.

Texans vitals:

Last year: 6-10 SU, 7-9 ATS

O/U: 8-8 under

Turnover ratio: -3

2006 exhibition (3-1, 4-0 ATS)

HOU (-3) 24-14 v KC (35½)

HOU (+3) 27-20 at St.L (37½)

HOU (+6) 14-17 at Denver (38)

HOU (-3) 16-13 v T.Bay (35)

2007 exhibition (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)

Aug 11, CHICAGO;

18, at Arizona; 24, DALLAS; 30, at Tampa Bay.

Tennessee Titans

Year 2 of the Vince Young era in Nashville.

Even with the Colts a huge 4/11 favorite at the Hilton to win the division, optimism is high over Tennessee’s 7-1 ATS finish after an 0-5 SU start.

Jeff Fisher handed Young the QB duties in midseason and the Titans found a leader in the their top draft pick of 2006.

Assuming no sophomore jinx, Young should have the Titans in the mix for a playoff spot.

The constants need to be a repeat of last year’s 5-1 ATS within the division, a +9 turnover ratio versus Houston and Jacksonville, along with 10-3 ATS mark as an underdog.

What needs to change? Try a 1-5 SU mark against AFC teams not in the South and improvement on defense. The OVER was 11-3-2 in Titans game a year ago.

Focus on pre-Week 4 home matchup with Green Bay. The Titans won last year by 14 and may point to another win to get the season off to a good start.

Titans vitals:

Last year: 8-8, 11-5 ATS

O/U: 11-3-2 over

Turnover ratio: +2

2006 exhibition (1-3, 1-3 ATS)

TEN (-3) 16-19 at N.Orl (35½)

TEN (+6) 10-35 at Denv (35½)

TEN (+3) 6-20 v Atlanta (38)

TEN (-1) 35-21 at G.Bay (36)

2007 exhibition (00, 00 ATS)

Aug. 11, Washington

17, at New England Patriots; 24, at Buffalo; 30, GREEN BAY.

Next week: The AFC North