NFL Betting Picks Preview: 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars

Vernon CroyCorrespondent IAugust 1, 2009

Jacksonville Jaguars mascot leads the team to the field amid flying flags.  The Buffalo  Bills defeated the Jaguars 38 - 17  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

The Jacksonville Jaguars had a bit of a rough year in 2008. Although many people believed they could be a Super Bowl contender before last season, they stumbled to a 5-11 record.

You never really know what you're going to get with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Traditionally, they had a stout defense and an efficient offense with a great running game.

Last year, they struggled in a lot of areas. David Garrard learned how to throw interceptions and consistently made mistakes. This really crippled the offense overall.

If you're looking for free NFL preseason picks , you probably won't see the Jaguars unseat the Colts or Titans in the division this season.

The Good News: The Jaguars brought in a few good players in the offseason. Probably the biggest name addition came in the form of wide receiver Torry Holt. Holt's talents helped make St. Louis "The Greatest Show on Turf" for several years and brought them two trips to the Super Bowl with one championship.

Over the years he has been one of the top receivers in the game with speed, great hands, and top-notch route running. The Jaguars hope he still has something left in the tank.

They also upgraded the offensive line significantly along the way.

The Jaguars signed free agent Tra Thomas and drafted Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton. Monroe was picked high in the first round and Britton was thought to be a potential first rounder.

That gives them three new talented offensive tackles to plug in and protect Garrard.

Maurice Jones-Drew will also be the featured back now, which many people believe to be good news. He has put up some great numbers while splitting time with Fred Taylor the last few seasons. Now he's got all the carries to himself, and he should be better as a result.

The Bad News:
The worst thing about the off-season was the loss of a lot of good players and not doing much to retool the defense. They lost defensive leader Mike Peterson in the linebacking corps, not to mention Paul Spicer and Tony McDaniel along the defensive line.

Jacksonville wasn't very good on defense last season to begin with, and they couldn't really afford to lose any of their good players. They're hoping that some young players can step up and make a difference.

They really could have used a little bit more help on offense and defense. Jack Del Rio is on the hot seat now after a sub-par 2008 season. Another year like that and he'll be out the door.

Outlook: As far as free NFL betting picks go, I would expect the Jaguars to finish in last place in the division this year. The Colts and Titans were solid playoff teams last year, and the Texans are improving drastically.

Therefore, it doesn't leave a lot of room for the Jaguars at the top of the division. I don't think the changes they made in the off-season are enough to get the job done.

Make sure you check out Vernon Croy's Expert NFL Picks this season.