2023-08-30 · 6 min read · NFL/Football
Anthony Richardson and Dalton Schultz

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

This past season, a division that has long been regarded as the weakest in the NFL got a new champion as the Jacksonville Jaguars unseeded the Tennessee Titans to capture the 2022 AFC South crown.
At the 2023 draft, this division had five first-round selections, with three of the first four picks coming from the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts, respectively, a sign of the amount of rebuilding that’s being done with many franchises in this division.
Teams like Indy and Houston are banking on two successful coordinators being ready to get results as head coach, while the Titans will hope a few offseason tweaks can transform their fortunes in 2023.
Here is a look at each team in this division and where I see them finishing.
Indianapolis Colts
Key Additions
  • Anthony Richardson- Quarterback- Florida
  • Isiah McKenzie- Wide Receiver- Buffalo Bills
  • Pharaoh Brown- Tight End- Cleveland Browns
Key Subtractions
  • Bobby Okereke- Linebacker- New York Giants
  • Stephon Gilmore- Cornerback- Dallas Cowboys
  • Parris Campbell- Wide Receiver- New York Giants
Biggest Strength
Had he not missed three games through injury, Jonathan Taylor likely would’ve had another 1,000-yard campaign, and his ability to hit holes hard, combined with the elusiveness of Richardson, should make them a solid rushing squad in 2023.
Taylor is reportedly on the market and by the time some of you read this he could be gone but as of the end of August, he is their most valued commodity.
At the time this was published Taylor is listed as Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) but Deon Jackson could surprise people if thrust into the starters role as he’s shown glimpses of good moments in limited action.
Biggest Weakness
Allowing an average of 209.9 yards passing per game like Indy did last season is neither spectacular nor awful; however, I feel the secondary will be a trouble spot for them when the new campaign gets underway.
Julius Brents is a solid corner, but I don’t know if he can fill the void left by Gilmore’s departure and outside of Brents, there seems to be a lack of experience or quality cover men on this roster.
Prediction- Third in AFC South
I think the Colts are still thin when it comes to defending passes and moving the ball through the air.
Add to that a rookie head coach in Shane Steichen, and it seems as though the best this franchise can hope for in 2023 is Richardson developing into an elite QB, but I don’t see that translating into many wins this year.
Jacksonville Jaguars
Key Additions
  • Tank Bigsby- Running Back- Auburn
  • Calvin Ridley- Wide Receiver- Atlanta Falcons
  • Brandon McManus- Kicker- Denver Broncos
Key Subtractions
  • Jawaan Taylor- Offensive Lineman- Kansas City Chiefs
  • Arden Key- Edge Rusher- Tennessee Titans
  • Marvin Jones- Wide Receiver- Detroit Lions
Biggest Strength
Through the lean years and the few good ones this franchise has experienced, one of their most consistent strong suits has been its ability to run the ball, and Travis Etienne showed in 2022 that he’s more than capable of shouldering the bulk of the carries.
In his first NFL season, he was massive for this team, racking up the ninth-most rushing yards (1,125); and his versatility, the flash of Bigsby, and Trevor Lawrence’s athleticism should make them a handful for opposing defences.
Biggest Weakness
The days of Sacksonville are long gone, and outmuscling opposing linemen was a major sore spot for this group in 2022, as they registered the seventh-fewest sacks in the NFL (35).
Travon Walker was a massive disappointment in year one, with only 3.5 sacks coming into a campaign where he was the #1 overall pick, and he’ll have a lot on his plate this season given the fact there isn’t a lot of strength or talent on this current roster at that position.
Prediction- First in AFC South
The defence has work to do, but on offence, even without a marquee superstar receiver, this group should be pretty impressive.
Given Lawrence’s progression last year, their dynamic backfield and the dependability of Christian Kirk, Evan Engram and Zay Jones to go along with Ridley, this is by far the best offensive unit in the AFC South and we haven’t even mentioned Jamal Agnew, who’s kick returning ability can turn a game on its head.
Barring a massive let-down or significant injury, I believe the AFC South is Jacksonville’s to lose.
Houston Texans
Key Additions
  • CJ Stroud- Quarterback- Ohio State
  • Dalton Schultz- Tight End- Dallas Cowboys
  • Robert Woods- Wide Receiver- Tennessee Titans
Key Subtractions
  • Brandin Cooks- Wide Receiver- Dallas Cowboys
  • Ogbonnia Okoronkwo- Defensive End- Cleveland Browns
  • Chris Moore- Wide Receiver- Tennessee Titans
Biggest Strength
In only 13 regular season appearances last season, Dameon Pierce showed plenty of flash out of the backfield, averaging 4.3 yards per carry and only losing two fumbles.
He’ll likely get the bulk of the carries this year, but he should be able to take a few more breathers with the addition of a reliable veteran in Devin Singletary.
Biggest Weakness
It’s hard to pinpoint one flaw in a team that was littered with them in 2022 but stopping the run was something they rarely did to significant effect, conceding 170.2 rushing yards per game last season, the highest average in the league.
Will Anderson should make them more formidable along the defensive line; however, DeMeco Ryans has his work cut out to try and develop an inexperienced linebacking group, who could be susceptible against the run this season.
Prediction- Fourth in AFC South
Stroud doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses to speak of, but on all sides of the ball, they’ve got a roster consisting of either raw talented players who’ve little to no NFL experience or adequate veterans, and therefor it’s hard to see the Texans emerging victorious all that much.
Tennessee Titans
Key Additions
  • DeAndre Hopkins- Wide Receiver- Arizona Cardinals
  • Andre Dillard- Guard- Philadelphia Eagles
  • Arden Key- Linebacker- Jacksonville Jaguars
Key Subtractions
  • Nate Davis- Guard- Chicago Bears
  • Robert Woods- Wide Receiver- Houston Texans
  • Austin Hooper- Tight End- Las Vegas Raiders
Biggest Strength
If it wasn’t for the performances of Derrick Henry, finishing second in rushing yards (1,538), the Titans might not have even been in playoff contention heading into the last week of the previous regular season.
DeAndre Hopkins will provide Ryan Tannehill with a reliable deep threat down the field at long last, but this team’s success on offence will rest on the shoulders of Henry, who did everything possible to keep his team on top of the AFC South for a good portion of last season.
Biggest Weakness
Hopkins is unquestionably the best receiving threat Mike Vrabel has, and everyone knows it, which means he could see double or triple coverage often.
As good of a pickup as he is, I don’t have a lot of faith that Treylon Burks and Chris Moore will provide much secondary help to take some pressure off Hopkins’ shoulders.
Prediction- Second in AFC South
Vrabel made some changes to his coaching staff and brought in a big play receiver, yet something tells me this offence will look eerily similar to a year ago.
Jeffrey Simmonds will bring the heat on the defensive side of the ball; however, Henry, I believe, is going to need to reel off plenty of 100-150-yard games on the ground for them to contend for the division.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Joel Lefevre


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