The NFL season is less than ten days away! Next up, we’ve got our full rankings and predictions for the AFC South.
After a rough start to the 2022 season, the Jaguars put their game into overdrive and went 6-1 in their last seven games to win the AFC South. Now, they come into 2023 with expectations to do the same. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence really came into his own in the latter half of 2022, and with the number of weapons at his disposal, expect Jacksonville’s offence to be one of the most exciting units in the league. Their biggest offseason addition was undoubtedly WR Calvin Ridley. Although Ridley hasn’t played a full season of football since 2020, he has the skills of a true number one receiver and should make an immediate impact in the passing game.
On defence, the Jags are a solid unit that will be looking for Travon Walker to take a step in the right direction. Walker was the first overall pick in the 2022 draft, and while he showed some flashes last season, he hasn’t fully come into his own in the NFL yet. Overall, this team should be able to carry last year’s momentum into this season. Trevor Lawrence is now a top-10 QB, and Doug Pederson is one of the best coaches in the league. The AFC is tough, but the South is not, and expect the Jags to stay on top.
The Titans made a splash by signing DeAndre Hopkins this offseason, but it’s hard to imagine the team back in the playoffs if they can’t win the AFC South. Ryan Tannehill remains a serviceable but aging quarterback, while Derrick Henry is once again set to carry the weight of the offence on his shoulders. Even though Henry refuses to slow down, one does have to wonder what happens to this team when that day comes. The Titans ranked 30th in yards last season and if Henry has a down year, the lone addition of Hopkins in the passing game may not be able to help make up the slack. Of course, Treylon Burks is a very capable pass-catcher as well, but he hardly gets you excited to watch Tennessee football.
Defensively, the team is middle-of-the-pack, which doesn’t bode well with a mediocre offence. Mike Vrabel should be able to win a few coaching battles over the course of the season, but don’t expect a ton from the Titans this year.
Winning isn’t the main focus right now in Houston, but it sure would be nice to see a few of them this year. In the draft, the team grabbed potential perennial Pro-Bowlers on both sides of the ball with C.J. Stroud at 2nd overall and Will Anderson Jr. At 3rd. Stroud has already won the starting quarterback job, so the reigns are officially his. Surrounding him will be a crop of very young, skilled players including Dameon Pierce, John Metchie III and Tank Dell. The offence has a few veterans as well, but if the younger guys play well, expect to see them take over more and more as the season progresses. On defence, Anderson will hopefully make a big difference to a pretty lackluster pass rush. This should help what is actually a sneaky decent secondary.
All in all, the Texans can’t expect too much out of this lineup just yet, but watching the progression of all their young players should be exciting anyway.
With superstar running back Jonathan Taylor sitting out the first four games on the PUP list, things have gotten off to an ugly start in Indy. This team has holes all over the roster at the moment, and losing their best player only creates another one. There is some excitement with the arrival of Anthony Richardson at quarterback, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the rookie gets off to a tough start in the big leagues. His athletic upside is obvious, but before he was drafted, many scouts looked at him as a project prospect. The surrounding cast in Indy has a few decent pieces on either side of the ball, but as a whole, the roster won’t be scaring too many opponents. With or without Jonathan Taylor, expect more losses than wins for the Colts again this season.
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