The AFC South might see a altering of the guard in the course of the 2022 NFL season because the Indianapolis Colts are available because the divisional favourite. But the Tennessee Titans shouldn’t be ignored; they’ve received the division the previous two seasons and had been the primary seed within the AFC playoffs in 2021.

As for the underside half of the division, the Jaguars wish to construct on Trevor Lawrence’s rookie season and put a disastrous 2021 marketing campaign behind them. New coach Doug Pederson ought to assist with that. And the Texans are hoping to have younger expertise across the roster get expertise as their essential objective could be getting right into a place to pick a quarterback on the high of subsequent yr’s draft.

I used my NFL projection mannequin and simulated the NFL season 100,000 occasions to take a deep dive into the AFC South, and the way possible every workforce is to win the division in addition to make the playoffs within the 2022 season.

Indianapolis Colts

  • Mock’s odds to win the AFC South: 64.0%
  • BetMGM’s odds to win the AFC South: -125 (55.6%)
  • Mock’s odds to make the playoffs: 74.6%
  • BetMGM Playoff Odds: -190 (65.5%)

If Things Go Right:

Matt Ryan proves he nonetheless has lots left within the tank and leads Frank Reich’s offense to a Super Bowl victory. The Colts have had a powerful supporting solid the previous few years, however they simply haven’t had the quarterback play. That involves an finish this yr. Ryan grades out higher than Carson Wentz based on my projections. So a lot so, the truth is, that the Colts wouldn’t be the division favourite in the event that they ran it again with Wentz in 2022.

Stephon Gilmore continues to play as an elite cornerback, and the Colts have a top-10 protection. Gilmore was fairly good in restricted motion for Carolina final season. If he can handle to remain wholesome for almost all of the season, the Colts might wind up with among the best secondaries in soccer.

If Things Go Wrong:

Ryan is okay taking part in behind a significantly better offensive line in comparison with final yr in Atlanta, however the receivers wrestle to create any separation, resulting in a stale passing recreation. Michael Pittman Jr. is a superb first choice, because the third-year receiver managed 1,000 yards in 2021. However, after Pittman come loads of query marks. Parris Campbell, who is usually unproven and oft injured, and rookie Alec Pierce would be the subsequent choices. They have potential however not outcomes. If the offense can’t keep forward of the chains, I’m afraid issues might find yourself like final season by simply lacking out on the playoffs.

Colts Super Bowl Projection:

My mannequin provides the Indianapolis Colts a 5.1% probability to win the Super Bowl, which ranks seventh within the NFL.

Tennessee Titans

  • Mock’s odds to win the AFC South: 30.1%
  • BetMGM’s odds to win the AFC South: +170 (37.0%)
  • Mock’s odds to make the playoffs: 44.9%
  • BetMGM’s odds to make the playoffs: +100 (50.0%)

Tennessee Titans Win Distribution

If Things Go Right:

Ryan Tannehill defies his critics, and regardless of questions on the extensive receiver place, the play-action recreation with Derrick Henry permits the Titans to make use of an offense just like the previous few seasons en path to an AFC Championship. In 2019, Tannehill averaged 13.5 yards per cross try utilizing play-action, and although that quantity got here all the way down to 9.7 in 2020, Tannehill nonetheless managed a really environment friendly 8.6 in 2021 with Henry lacking majority of the season. Henry is the important thing to their play-action success, and I anticipate them to be deadly there once more this yr. My mannequin tasks the Titans to be a barely above-average offense, however any enchancment by Tannehill ought to see them again within the high 10 of the NFL.

Treylon Burks performs to his first-round means, and the lack of A.J. Brown isn’t felt as a lot as anticipated. Burks was an explosive playmaker at Arkansas, however experiences out of coaching camp haven’t been sort. I prefer to assume issues will get simpler within the common season with the specter of Henry within the backfield. Robert Woods is coming off an ACL however appears to be again at 100%, and the Titans would profit drastically with Burks dwelling as much as the hype.

If Things Go Wrong:

Tannehill’s struggles end up to not be tied to Henry’s absence, and his play continues to say no. The reigning AFC No. 1 seed fails to make the playoffs. Tannehill’s beginning position isn’t actually in query in the intervening time, but when the struggles from 2021 proceed in 2022, strain shall be on Mike Vrabel to get Malik Willis some reps. I feel the plan was to let Willis sit for this season after which see what issues appear like in 2023, but when Tannehill isn’t getting the job carried out, that timeline might get accelerated.

Close video games begin to go towards them. In 2021, the Titans had been 6-1 in video games determined by a discipline objective or much less (and in some way the loss was to the Jets, go determine) after going 4-1 in such video games in 2020. Maybe the Titans are simply “winners” however shut video games, particularly that shut, are inclined to even out over time. If their fortune reverses itself, the Titans might simply see themselves on the skin wanting in.

Titans Super Bowl Projection:

My mannequin provides the Tennessee Titans a 2.4% probability to win the Super Bowl, which ranks nineteenth within the NFL.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Mock’s odds to win the AFC South: 4.7%
  • BetMGM’s odds to win the AFC South: +750 (11.8%)
  • Mock’s odds to make the playoffs: 8.3%
  • BetMGM’s odds to make the playoffs: +450 (18.2%)

Jacksonville Jaguars Win Distribution

If Things Go Right:

Trevor Lawrence takes an enormous leap ahead and leads the Jaguars to the AFC playoffs. Lawrence will profit from a full offseason within the Jags group however extra importantly, he shall be working below a coach who isn’t a whole catastrophe. Doug Pederson is an efficient offensive thoughts, and it wasn’t way back that he was thought of among the best within the recreation after the Eagles received the Super Bowl. Pederson’s scheme mixed with Lawrence taking the following step with an thrilling talent group ought to have this Jags offense buzzing.

Josh Allen, offseason acquisition Arden Key and 2022 first total choose Travon Walker are a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. After having a league common strain charge final season, they need to be capable to get after the passer extra in 2022, particularly if Walker can contribute instantly. If the cross rush improves, possibly that may make life simpler for a secondary that had the third worst EPA/Dropback final season, based on TruMedia.

Travis Etienne sees the sector and offers the offense the explosive playmaker they picked within the first spherical of the 2021 NFL Draft. Etienne’s means as a cross catcher continues to be an unknown, however you can not deny the velocity, and defenses must keep watch over him always when he’s on the sector.

If Things Go Wrong:

The Jaguars’ acquisitions on protection fail to return to fruition, they usually rank within the backside 5 in most metrics. My mannequin doesn’t anticipate a lot from this protection, rating them them second-to-last within the league, although the Jaguars did deal with some points. The Jags spent two first-round draft picks on defenders, Walker and Devin Lloyd, and made a number of veteran acquisitions, however none had been game-changing signings. They must make an influence to ensure that the Jags to get out of the league basement.

The offseason acquisition of offensive guard Brandon Scherff needs to be useful, but it surely may not matter if the remainder of the unit doesn’t take a step ahead. Scherff is unbelievable, however I’m undecided there may be one other above-average participant on the road. Fortunately Lawrence is unbelievable transferring inside the pocket, but when he’s continually below strain, it’s onerous to see this offense getting off the bottom.

Jaguars Super Bowl Projection:

My mannequin provides the Jacksonville Jaguars a 0.3% probability to win the Super Bowl, which is twenty seventh within the NFL.

Houston Texans

  • Mock’s odds to win the AFC South: 1.2%
  • BetMGM’s odds to win the AFC South: +2500 (3.8%)
  • Mock’s odds to make the playoffs: 2.1%
  • BetMGM’s odds to make the playoffs: +1400 (6.7%)

Houston Texans Win Distribution

If Things Go Right:

The Texans discover their quarterback of the longer term as Davis Mills leads an offense that contends for a playoff spot. The ceiling isn’t tremendous excessive for this workforce, however high quality quarterback play would go a good distance. Mills wasn’t nice final yr, however you may’t anticipate a lot from a rookie on a foul workforce. My mannequin tasks Mills as one of many worst starters in soccer this season, however any enchancment might go a good distance for a workforce that doesn’t have a lot of a ceiling.

The talent gamers are an underrated group and make life simpler for Mills on this offense. Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead within the backfield ought to assist Mills within the passing recreation whereas Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins is a strong 1-2 combo at receiver.

The protection performs to league common behind an ideal cross rush off the sting and strong cornerback play. Offseason acquisition Jerry Hughes pairs with Jonathan Greenard in what could also be one of many extra underrated cross dashing tandems within the league. And Derek Stingley Jr. lives as much as his billing as a CB1 after being picked third total on this previous yr’s draft. A constant cross rush paired with strong protection at CB can go a good distance for a foul protection.

If Things Go Wrong:

Mills proves to not be the longer term at quarterback and the Texans offense finally ends up on the backside of the league. As talked about earlier, my mannequin will not be an enormous fan of Mills, and even giving him a slight adjustment in his second yr, it’s not a great choice.

At the tip of the day, if issues go unsuitable for the Texans, it’s not all unhealthy. The workforce shall be selecting on the high of the 2023 NFL Draft and shall be deciding between Bryce Young and CJ Stroud.

Texans Super Bowl Projection:

My mannequin provides the Houston Texans a 0.1% probability to win the Super Bowl, which is second-to-last within the NFL.

(Photo: Trevor Ruszkowski / USA Today)

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