It’s just about that time of year; the time to ignore your significant other (or others for the luckier ones of us), put the kids in a playpen somewhere, and hunker down for with a 6 or 30 pack for 18 phenomenal weeks of regular season football. Over here at FansofFans we live and breath football, and with that being said, taking into account drafts, free agent signings, trades, notable additions and loses, we will rank where each team will finish in all 8 NFL divisions. Today we cover the AFC South.
Division Winners: Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts were a victory over the lowly Jags away from the post season last year. We don’t need to revisit that debacle, and the Colts don’t want to either, which is why the made the upgrade to 15 year veteran Matty Ice at QB. With arguably one of the best RBs in Johnathan Taylor, an above average O-line, and additions like Stephon Gilmore in the secondary and Yannick Ngakoue getting to the QB; the Colts should be able to take over a division in which it’s biggest competition has traded away its number one receiver and is already looking forward to its future at the QB position. Oh, and it helps when your team has the 3rd easiest schedule in the league.
Second Place: Tennessee Titans
Trading away star wideout A.J. Brown may continue to be one of the most head scratching decisions any team has made in the 2022 off-season, but as long as Tennessee has King Henry, they still have a viable shot at winning the AFC South. Honestly, it’s probably a toss up between the Titans and Colts who will take the AFC South, but it looks like the Colts are in more of a win now mode than the Titans are. The Titans seem to be looking towards a future without Ryan Tannehill, one where starting QB Malik Willis, who was recently praised by MVP QB Lamar Jackson, will be throwing touchdown passes to new WR1 Treylon Burks and 4th round slot receiver Kyle Philips. It should also be noted that the Titans were the #1 seed in the AFC in 2021, which means they will have a 1st place schedule, which certainly makes the journey to repeat that much more difficult.
Third Place: Houston Texans
The Houston Texans take the 3rd spot in the AFC South out of default, as this will essentially be a proper Year 1 for Jags QB Trevor Lawrence after the debacle with Urban Myer. Davis Mills however will continue his growth from 2021 that he showed down the stretch going 2-3 with a 9:2 TD:INT ratio in his last 5 games after starting his year going 0-6. It should also be noted that outside of Mac Jones with the New England Patriots, Davis Mills numbers last season were better than every other 2021 first-round drafted QB. Another year with Brandon Cooks should strengthen their connection, although having to wait a whole year to get John Metchie III in the rotation may hurt Mills’ development. Elsewhere on the team 2022 1st round pick Derek Stingley Jr is still recovering from his Lisfranc injury at LSU, and they will need him sooner than later with influx of new WR talent in the division.
Last Place: Jacksonville Jaguars
As I mentioned earlier, Trevor Lawrence’s sophomore year will be more akin to what his QB draft colleagues 2021 season was, due to in whole Urban Myer. To be honest, Lawrence may have actually regressed as a player under Myer, if not the whole team. Hiring Myer was a disaster, and keeping him for so long was just insane. But now the Jags have a Superbowl winning coach in Doug Pederson, and his history as a QB Coach in Philadelphia should help properly develop Lawrence. Let’s not forget, Lawrence was supposed to be the next transcendent QB in the NFL, similar to Andrew Luck, and there were few, although not many, flashes of that during his inaugural season. While I’m not totally sold on the Christian Kirk signing, Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault Jr., and Zay Jones should make for a nice receiving room. One thing I am sold on is number one overall draft pick Travon Walker, who will be on the other side of Josh Allen (not that Josh Allen) reeking havoc on opposing offensive lines. Couple that with second round pick Devin Lloyd and the return of RB Travis Etienne, the Jaguars might actually finish a season with double digit wins for the first time sense 2017.
What say you? Which AFC South team do you think will win the division in 2022? Let us know in the comment section below!