We have the AFC West out of the way and now let’s move on to the AFC South. Jacksonville was the only team to emerge with a winning record. The Jaguars won the AFC South with a 9-8 record and even won a playoff game in historic fashion. They trailed the Chargers 27-0 before coming back to win the game 31-30. Tennessee battled a lot of injuries last season after starting the season strong. Indianapolis also had their fair share of injuries on both sides of the ball. Houston had another disappointing season and it garnered them the second overall pick in the NFL draft. Will Jacksonville repeat as the AFC South champions? Can Tennessee rebound and claim the top spot in the AFC South? Will Houston or Indianapolis make a run atop the division? Who will be crowned 2023 AFC South division champ?
The Houston Texans is looking to move in a positive direction for the first time in a while. They began the offseason by hiring DeMeco Ryans. Ryans served as the defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers last season. They used the 2nd and 3rd overall picks on C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson Jr. With those picks, they are hoping that Stroud will lead them into the future on offense. Will Anderson Jr. was one of the most dominant defensive players from Alabama. The Texans had a lot of cap space, so they brought in a lot of veterans on both sides of the ball. On offense, they signed Robert Woods, Devin Singletary, and Dalton Schultz to help with Stroud’s progression. The defensive side saw Jimmie Ward, Hassan Ridgeway, and Denzel Perryman all sign with the Texans. Will Houston improve and make a run at the AFC South crown?
The Indianapolis Colts have been looking for a franchise quarterback ever since Andrew Luck abruptly retired. They have tried with Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, and even Matt Ryan. They drafted Anthony Richardson out of Florida and signed Gardner Minshew for insurance. The Colts are at a standstill with running back Jonathan Taylor as he’s wanting a contract extension. The Colts are hoping that Richardson will step in and lead this offense. If the defense can remain healthy, they were one of the better ones a couple years ago. At the end of the day, the Colts success hinges on the progression of Richardson. Richardson will make some dazzling plays, but he will make his fair share of mistakes. Indianapolis will improve, but they won’t be winning the AFC South title.
The Jacksonville Jaguars is a team on the rise. They finished last year strong, won the division, and went to the playoffs. Trevor Lawrence had one of the worse halves of football against the Chargers in the playoffs. In the second half, he had one for the ages to beat Los Angeles. This season Lawrence is one of my favorites to make another leap and be in the MVP conversation. They re-signed one of his favorite targets in Evan Engram. They did lose two key pieces of the offense in Jawaan Taylor and Marvin Jones Jr. The defense should do enough to keep this team in the game. If not, Lawrence is good enough to go toe-to-toe with any quarterback and offense in the league. Doug Pederson will continue to have this team in position to make another playoff run. The Jags should repeat as AFC South champions again.
The Tennessee Titans were headed to another successful season last year until the injury bug hit them. Ryan Tannehill missed some time. Derrick Henry also missed time when he was running away with the rushing title. The defense also suffered their fair share of injuries throughout the season. One thing Tennessee has missed ever since trading A.J. Brown is a dominant receiver. They signed DeAndre Hopkins with the hopes he can help whoever the QB is and the offense. The Titans defense will still be one of the more physical ones this upcoming season. Tennessee will be battling Jacksonville for the AFC South crown. Can they avoid the injury plague and overtake the Jags for the division? The Titans will be there and could win the division again.
My 2023 AFC South Standings
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Tennessee Titans
- Indianapolis Colts
- Houston Texans