AFC South over/unders: How effective will J.J. Watt be after back surgery?

Shutdown Corner

It’s August, which means it’s time to break down Las Vegas over/under win totals. While my teammates Brad Evans and Tank Williams handled the standard over/under lines you’ll find in Nevada sports books, here are some entirely made up over/unders for each team in the AFC South (we’ll be doing every division this week) as the preseason gets into full swing:

Sacks for J.J. Watt this preseason: 2.5

Watt barely played last season due to back injuries, which eventually required season-ending surgery. Watt is back at practice, has reportedly looked healthy and will play in the Texans’ preseason opener. You’d have to assume Watt wants to show he’s all the way back, so the preseason won’t be inconsequential to him. There are plenty of important preseason questions around the NFL, but perhaps none are more important than if the three-time NFL defensive player of the year looks like his usual self. THE PICK: OVER

J.J. Watt is returning from an injury-filled 2016 season. (AP)
J.J. Watt is returning from an injury-filled 2016 season. (AP)

Tom Savage’s touchdown passes this preseason: 2.5

We can’t ignore the Texans’ quarterback battle. There have been two common threads to reports out of Texans camp: Deshaun Watson is advanced for a rookie quarterback, and Savage is clearly the starter. That could change over the next four weeks, but it seems like it’s Savage’s job to lose. He has had disappointments and injuries before, so he needs to play well in preseason. And if Watson is as good as advertised in preseason, it will be tough for Savage to hold him off. Savage has zero career NFL regular-season touchdowns, but a good August would presumably lock up the job. THE PICK: OVER

Carries for Leonard Fournette this preseason: 25.5

The Jaguars are in a tough position with Fournette this month. The rookie has to get up to NFL speed, but he also needs to be fresh for a workload that is probably going to top 250 (300? 350?) carries. Jacksonville needs to be smart with how many carries they’ll give Fournette in the preseason. The best guess is they’ll be conservative. It’ll be fun to see him in however many carries he gets. THE PICK: UNDER

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Rushing attempts for Marcus Mariota this preseason: 3.5

Part of the reason Mariota is such an exciting young quarterback is he’s a threat as a runner. He was a fantastic runner at the University of Oregon and has been a good runner for the Titans. But two straight seasons have ended with leg injuries, including a broken leg last season. He has looked healthy this preseason. Coach Mike Mularkey said he was so impressed by a Mariota touchdown run in practice he forgot which play he was going to call next. The Titans don’t want Mariota exposed too much in the preseason, but he has to play his game to show he’s ready for the season. THE PICK: OVER

Pass attempts for Andrew Luck this preseason: 0.5

If this looks familiar, it’s because we asked the same question about Cam Newton. The stories are similar: franchise quarterbacks off shoulder surgery, who are both being watched with a microscope. Luck hasn’t returned to practice, and there have been concerns since camp started about his availability for Week 1 of the regular season. We’re getting to the point in the preseason in which it seems like time is running out for Luck to play in any games. The Colts won’t take any chances. THE PICK: UNDER

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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