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Colts Defense and Titans Offense Battle for AFC South Crown

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When the AFC South division was created in 2002, it would take over 9 seasons before another team besides the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans won the division. Now, 20 years after the inaugural season, the two rivals appear to be headed towards another fight for the division. Indianapolis, led by a star-studded Colts defense will look to slow down the high-energy Titans offense. Last year, it was the Titans offense that powered them to the AFC South crown last season. Now, an even better Colts defense looks ready to put up quite a fight.

AFC South in 2021

Last season, the Titans offense powered the team to their second straight division title, despite missing half a season from superstar running back Derrick Henry. The Titans eventually earned the one seed in the AFC before dropping their first game to the eventual AFC champions, the Cincinnati Bengals. The team was connected with some of the high end available quarterbacks but will enter 2022 with incumbent starter Ryan Tannehill and rookie Malik Willis.

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While the Titans were able to find the post-season, the Colts fell just short after an embarrassing week 18 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. During the offseason, the team swapped quarterback Carson Wentz for Matt Ryan. While the offense struggled last season, outside of Jonathan Taylor, the Colts defense proved to be a very formidable unit. As a result, defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus was hired away as the head coach of the Chicago Bears. Replacing him as the head of the Colts defense is NFL coaching vet Gus Bradley.

Star Power

Both AFC South contenders feature plenty of star power. The Colts defense, already led by the talented DeForest Buckner and Darius Leonard, made a big splash this offseason by signing the former Defensive Player of the Year, Stephon Gilmore, to boost the secondary. Meanwhile, Gilmore will take the spot vacated by Rock Ya-Sin, who was shipped west to Las Vegas for veteran pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue.

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Meanwhile, the Titans offense will counter these moves by most importantly bringing a healthy Derrick Henry back into the fold. Despite only playing half a season last year, Henry still nearly managed to eclipse the 1,000 rushing yard threshold and departed as the best running back in football. Meanwhile, the Titans offense swapped A.J. Brown with Robert Woods and first round pick Treylon Burks.

AFC South 2022

Looking at the AFC South during the 2022 season, the Jaguars and Texans likely won’t be competing for the division crown. With the Titans offense losing A.J. Brown and targeting a replacement QB in the draft, changes are headed to Nashville. The team appears to be entering a re-tooling period with the hopes of competing this season while starting to look to the future. A bounce back season from Derrick Henry will go a long way to helping the team win their third straight AFC South title.

Meanwhile, Indianapolis will hope that a change at quarterback and the star-studded Colts defense will earn the team their first AFC south crown since the 2014 season. Led on offense by former MVP Matt Ryan and leading rusher Jonathan Taylor, the Colts, on-paper, look to be an improved roster from last season and should challenge the Titans in the AFC South.

Who do you think will come out on top in the division in 2022? Let us know in the comments below!

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