How Every AFC South Team Can Win Super Bowl LVII

How Every AFC South Team Can Win Super Bowl LVII

by March 10, 2022 0 comments

With free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft approaching, franchises all have a level of excitement. Some are looking to contend this season, while others just want to move in the right direction. The league is unique in that every team has a chance to win the Super Bowl each season. The NFL can be volatile, and the smallest of breaks could launch a championship run, as exemplified by the Cincinnati Bengals last season. It may be unlikely to happen again, but football is unpredictable for a reason. There is a path for all 32 teams to win Super Bowl LVII.

Today, that path is for teams in the AFC South.

Previous: AFC East, AFC North

Tennessee Titans

The two-time reigning AFC South champs had a weird 2021 season. On one hand, they got the No. 1 seed in the AFC. On the other hand, their three offensive superstars were rarely healthy. The season culminated in a Ryan Tannehill season-ending interception and subsequent Evan McPherson field goal. Perhaps that playoff game would have gone differently if Derrick Henry had not been injured.

For the sake of the Titans, Henry will be fully rested and recovered and have a dominant 2022 campaign. He should challenge for the rushing title, and the duo of Julio Jones and A.J. Brown is one of the best in the league. Ryan Tannehill can sustain enough decent play to put the Titans in play for the AFC’s top seed once again, and with a little bit of luck, they could win two (or three) games and make the Super Bowl.

The defense took massive strides in 2021 even if the talent level did not change much. They will need to continue to make strides, but even still, they were one three-interception game away from hosting the AFC Championship. Henry is the ultimate playoff weapon, and the Titans are a serious Super Bowl threat in 2022. With good health from the stars, the Titans will make the playoffs and be a difficult out.

Indianapolis Colts

It took divine intervention to keep the Colts out of the playoffs in 2021. However, they have a plan of action for 2022: force-feed Jonathan Taylor. In a wash-rinse-repeat of the Titans above, the Colts will go as far as Taylor takes them. He will have every opportunity to repeat as the rushing champ, and the Colts should do everything to have him romp to an MVP-caliber season. With a healthy offensive line, the Colts should rattle off the wins, taking advantage of an easier schedule than the Titans.

With Carson Wentz out of town, the Colts have a glaring hole at quarterback. They do not have a first-round pick, and it would be difficult to trade up from the middle of the second to get one, so they will likely look to free agency. However, the only starter-level quarterback available is Jameis Winston, who might be a slight upgrade over Wentz. For the sake of this discussion, Winston is the best option now, and he could help the Colts to the Super Bowl.

Wentz did have a solid stat line with the Colts in 2021, but his sterling touchdown-to-interception ratio (27-to-7) hid lost fumbles and one of the luckiest runs in terms of turnover-worthy plays. Winston, despite his past, can step in and be an upgrade because he can consistently generate more positive plays than Wentz. The receiving corps needs an extra horse or two, but it should be workable for Winston or any free-agent quarterback.

Houston Texans

For the Texans, the path is simple. If Deshaun Watson is their quarterback in 2022, they have a shot at the Super Bowl. For the sake of this article, Watson will be absolved of his legal issues and his issues with Texans’ management and play 17 games for the team. The rest of the offense is nothing special, but No. 4 is special, and he can make magic happen.

Keeping Watson gives the Texans flexibility with their draft capital. They might look to trade down and rack up the picks, hoping some of them blossom quickly. Perhaps, they trade down into the middle of the first round and pick up extra middle-round picks. They could nab an offensive lineman and a wide receiver to bolster the offense. Defensively, the Texans need work, but Lovie Smith does have experience with strong defenses. He can push the right buttons to get the Texans just competitive enough on that side of the ball to help the offense out. If Watson plays at an MVP level and the defense is not a bottom-10 unit, the Texans should be able to win some games.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The solution for the Jaguars is also straightforward. If Trevor Lawrence takes a Year 2 jump, the Jaguars could be in play to win a weaker AFC South. Helped by a fourth-place schedule and a pair of games against a (likely) Watson-less Texans squad, the Jaguars could overachieve. The Ravens and Denver Broncos might be punching above the Jaguars’ weight, but the Texans (twice), New York Jets, Detroit Lions, and the entire NFC East could be winnable. If they win an extra AFC South game or beat a team like the Las Vegas Raiders, they could slip into the playoffs.

Offensively, the Jaguars do have some reasonable pieces. James Robinson and Travis Etienne make for a solid duo in the backfield, and they have a variety of skill sets on the perimeter. They could attract a star receiver in free agency or draft one at No. 33. Beyond the weapons, they also have a reasonable offensive line, especially if they snag a tackle with the No. 1 pick in the draft. Dan Arnold is not a catastrophe of a tight end, either.

Defensively, the Jaguars have plenty of issues, but many of their 2021 failures were due to forcing just nine turnovers. If they force even 15 or 20 in 2022, they will win more games. In 2021, they went 3-3 when they forced a turnover and 2-0 when they forced multiple. Similarly, if they reduce turnovers on the offensive end, the defense will be put in better situations to succeed. The Jaguars’ defense might improve just with Lawrence’s development.

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I’m Ryan Potts. Some people affectionately call me Splash. I am renowned for being a misplaced Ravens, Cavs, Wings & Braves fan. Twitter: MrSplashMan19

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