Post-Season AFC South Report: Jaguars World, Party Time, Excellent!

by Jason Allwine · Analytics & Advanced Metrics

Welcome back to the Post-Season AFC South Report! The regular season has come and gone, and I’m here to tell you all about how the AFC South shaped up and provide a preview for next year. The division came down to the last game of the year, where the Jaguars beat the Joshua Dobbs-led Titans to take home the crown. It was an interesting year all around for the AFC South- so let’s dive in!

Jacksonville Jaguars

2022 Record: 9-8

The Jaguars ended the year on a tear, winning their last five games- two of them over the Titans. Because of that, they won the division for the first time since 2017 and only the second time in history. They then pulled off the third largest comeback in NFL Playoff history, beating the Chargers 31-30 after being down 27-0.

Fun fact, the Jaguars have never lost in the Wild Card round. Their season was ended in the Divisional Round by the Chiefs 27-20, but this year was more than a success for a team that opened the year with an expected 6.5 wins.


Points: No. 10

Yards: No. 10 (Pass: No. 10 | Run: No. 14)

Top 3 Scorers:

  1. Trevor Lawrence (QB8)
  2. Christian Kirk (WR11)
  3. Travis Etienne (RB16)

The biggest story of this offense is of course the giant leap that Trevor Lawrence took. After being one of the worst quarterbacks in 2021, Lawrence clearly learned something from Doug Pederson. The point that will really bring home how good of a year Lawrence had is the following: although he had 18 fewer pass attempts in 2022 than in 2021, he managed 472 more yards and 13 more touchdowns. Additionally, if you take a look at these advanced stats & metrics, you will find that he finished top 10 in pretty much any category that matters.

And while Christian Kirk was the biggest benefactor and had a great year with 1,108 yards and eight touchdowns- both Zay Jones and Evan Engram had career years too. Jones had 823 yards and eight touchdowns, and Engram had 766 yards and five touchdowns. And while Travis Etienne didn’t quite meet expectations, he still had nine games total with over 100 yards and finished the year with 1,441 yards and five touchdowns. It was a huge step in the right direction for the entire Jaguars offense.


Points: No. 12

Yards: No. 24 (Pass: No. 28 | Run: No. 12)


     Tackles: Foyesade Oluokun (184 Combined)

     Sacks: Josh Allen (7)

     Takeaways: Rayshawn Jenkins (3 INT & 3 FF), Tyson Campbell (3 INT, 1 FF, 2 FR)

The Jaguars’ defense wasn’t too shabby, but they do definitely have a couple of holes. However, where they excelled- they truly excelled. They finished No. 10 in Takeaways per Game with 1.4. They also had four different players with three interceptions. And Foyesade Oluokun’s 184 combined tackles led the entire league. It’s important to remember how many rookies were on this defense too. If Devin Lloyd, Andre Cisco, and Travon Walker take a step forward in Year 2, the defense will be even better.

Offseason Lookahead 

Estimated Cap Space: $-32.3 million

Top 3 Draft Picks: Round 1- Pick 24, Round 2- Pick 56, Round 3- Pick 88

Pending Fantasy Relevant Free Agents:

  1. Evan Engram
  2. Marvin Jones
  3. JaMycal Hasty
  4. Dan Arnold

Potential Cuts:

  1. Shaquil Griffin, CB (Saves $13.5m)
  2. Roy Robertson-Harris (Saves $7.8m)

Team Needs:

  1. Cornerback
  2. Offensive Line
  3. Running Back

This offseason is going to be an interesting one for the Jaguars. They’re in cap hell and don’t have much room to work without losing some important pieces. Shaquill Griffin is a decent cornerback but hasn’t performed to his pay grade, so he will likely be the biggest cut. I then see them addressing CB in the draft with their first or second-round pick in order to get a good one without spending up.

They will likely restructure some contracts and maybe make some surprise cuts in order to get themselves back above the cap. I do see them re-signing Evan Engram. He’s performed really well and shouldn’t demand too much money. One more move I expect is to bring in a big RB for short-yardage work, so they can let Etienne be more explosive while handling a lighter workload. One last thing, Calvin Ridley should be returning from suspension.

Player(s) to Buy Low on: Travis Etienne and Calvin Ridley

Tennessee Titans

2022 Record: 7-10

After starting the year strong at 7-3, the Titans lost seven straight games and finished second in the division. This was their first losing season since 2015 and the first time missing the playoffs since 2018. Outside of Derrick Henry remaining healthy, it was a year filled with struggles. Malik Willis clearly wasn’t ready. Ryan Tannehill couldn’t stay healthy. Treylon Burks couldn’t stay healthy. And they lost six one-score games. Nothing really went their way, but if they can work on their health issues they should have a better 2023.


Points: No. 28

Yards: No. 30 (Pass: No. 30 | Run: No. 13)

Top 3 Scorers:

  1. Derrick Henry (RB3)
  2. Ryan Tannehill (QB26)
  3. Treylon Burks (WR75)

The Titans’ offense was all about Derrick Henry in 2022. Ryan Tannehill only played in 12 games, Malik Willis sucked, and all the WRs were hurt at some point except for Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. Henry finished the year with the No. 2 most rush yards in the league with 1,538. He also rushed for 13 touchdowns which ranked No. 3 best amongst qualified RBs. Those that took the risk on Henry in 2022 were more than rewarded with the No. 4 highest fantasy points per game as well. Henry proved all doubters wrong and continues to show that he is superhuman. Rookie Treylon Burks did have one game where he flashed. In Week 11, he had 111 yards off of seven receptions while covered by star CB Jaire Alexander. That was perhaps the only bright spot on this offense outside of Henry.


Points: No. 14

Yards: No. 23 (Pass: No. 32 | Run: No. 1)


     Tackles: Kevin Byard (108 Combined)

     Sacks: Denico Autry (8), Jeffery Simmons (7.5), DeMarcus Walker (7)

     Takeaways: Kevin Byard (4 INT)

The Titans’ defense kept the team in games most of the year, but no one had a truly great season. Kevin Byard of course was the star, leading the team in tackles and takeaways. But his four interceptions put him outside the top 10. Having three players with seven or more sacks is definitely impressive and highlights that the best part of their defense is their defensive line. Jeffery Simmons is easily one of the best defensive tackles in the league.

Offseason Lookahead

Estimated Cap Space: $-23.7 million

Top 3 Draft Picks: Round 1- Pick 11, Round 2- Pick 41, Round 3- Pick 72

Pending Fantasy Relevant Free Agents:

  1. Austin Hooper
  2. Geoff Swaim
  3. Dontrell Hilliard

Potential Cuts:

  1. Ryan Tannehill, QB (Saves $17.8m)
  2. Robert Woods, WR (Saves $12m)
  3. Taylor Lewan, OT (Saves $14.8m)

Team Needs:

  1. Offensive Line
  2. Wide Receiver
  3. Quarterback
  4. Linebacker
  5. EDGE
  6. Cornerback

The Titans are in the negative right now but cutting just the top two easily solves their issues. They can also cut Lewan and have plenty of money to spread around in free agency. What remains to be seen is if they’re sold on Malik Willis or not. The answer is probably not. They might draft QB and could bring in a vet if they need to. One thing’s for sure – they need one more WR, and they should look to draft them in the second round but might wait as long as the third round. It’s something that needs to be addressed in the draft in my opinion.

Player(s) to Buy Low on: Chig Okonkwo and Hassan Haskins.

Indianapolis Colts

2022 Record: 4-12-1

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the year was the Colts. Vegas had them projected at 9.5 wins going into the year, and they didn’t even get half of that. Matt Ryan had 13 interceptions in his 12 games. Jonathan Taylor missed six games but only played 2.5-percent of snaps in one of his games where he left the field injured, so he essentially missed seven games. After firing Frank Reich after starting 3-5-1, they brought in Jeff Saturday who finished the year 1-7. Hopefully, the Colts have worked through the growing pains and can bounce back in 2023.


Points: No. 30

Yards: No. 27 (Pass: No. 23 | Run: No. 23)

Top 3 Scorers:

  1. Matt Ryan (QB27)
  2. Jonathan Taylor (RB36)
  3. Michael Pittman (WR27)

It’s honestly hard to say what went wrong for the Colts. Well, obviously it was quarterback play, but it didn’t help that the offensive line was bad and Jonathan Taylor couldn’t stay healthy. And to be honest, all three QBs who played weren’t good.

I’ve written in every AFC South article how surprised I was by Matt Ryan’s downfall, and I really hope this year was just an anomaly. With coaching changes, bad offensive line play, no RB, and your “alpha” WR having a down year, there’s not much you can do. Michael Pittman shined in 2021 with Carson Wentz, but despite 11 more catches, he had 157 fewer yards and two fewer touchdowns. The Colts will need Alec Pierce and Jelani Woods to step it up in 2023. They will also of course need Jonathan Taylor who had by far the worst year of his career.


Points: No. 28

Yards: No. 15 (Pass: No. 11 | Run: No. 21)


     Tackles: Zaire Franklin (167 Combined)

     Sacks: Yannick Ngakoue (9.5), DeForest Buckner (8)

     Takeaways: Isaiah Rodgers (1 FF, 4 FR), Bobby Okereke (2 FF, 2 FR), Rodney Thomas (4 INT)

Zaire Franklin was the biggest help this year on defense, finishing with the No. 4 most tackles in the entire league. But overall, they have some work to do. The secondary needs it in particular- Stephon Gilmore and Kenny Moore are not the future at CB. And four INTs from Rodney Thomas is pretty good but not enough when no one else had more than two interceptions. However, their defensive line is stout with Yannick Ngakoue, DeForest Buckner, and Grover Stewart. It’s a decent foundation that they should surely build from.

Offseason Lookahead

Estimated Cap Space: $11.9 million

Top 3 Draft Picks: Round 1- Pick 4, Round 2- Pick 35, Round 3- Pick 79 (From Washington)

Pending Fantasy Relevant Free Agents:

  1. Ashton Dulin
  2. Parris Campbell

Potential Cuts:

  1. Kenny Moore, CB (Saves $7.5m)
  2. Matt Ryan, QB (Saves $17.2m)
  3. DeForest Buckner, DT (Saves $19.8m)

Team Needs:

  1. Offensive Line
  2. Cornerback
  3. Quarterback
  4. EDGE
  5. Wide Receiver

The biggest thing to watch this year is what they do with Matt Ryan. He’s probably gone, and the Colts should go QB. Cody Carpentier actually has them trading up to the No. 1 to get Will Levis in his latest mock draft.

Levis would be the perfect QB for them, and there’s a chance he does fall to No. 4. Either way, I love the landing spot for Levis. If they can get him and then cut Matt Ryan, they’ll have the money to fix the offensive line and can maybe bring in one more weapon in the second or third rounds. Although bringing in a veteran makes sense for them too. Also, they likely resign at least Ashton Dulin but probably Parris Campbell too. I doubt they’re asking for much.

Player(s) to Buy Low on: Alec Pierce and Jelani Woods

Houston Texans

2022 Record: 3-13-1

After being the favorite to end up with the No. 1 overall draft pick all season, the Texans decided to heat things up over the last few weeks. They won two of their last four games with their last win coming in Week 18 where they opted to go for two to win (and lose the No. 1 pick). At the end of the year, the Texans fired Lovie Smith and also should be moving on from Davis Mills. They are in a full rebuild but seem to have a decent foundation in Derek Stingley, Dameon Pierce, Nico Collins, and Jalen Pitre.


Points: No. 30

Yards: No. 31 (Pass: No. 25 | Run: No. 31)

Top 3 Scorers:

  1. Davis Mills (QB21)
  2. Dameon Pierce (RB29)
  3. Brandin Cooks (WR48)

Davis Mills took a step forward in that his numbers were better than his rookie year, but also he played in more games. Unfortunately, he threw 15 interceptions in his 15 games and only had one game with three touchdowns all year. He’s still a decent QB, but he’s fallen short of the Andy Dalton line and will end up as a serviceable backup. The big story for the Texans’ offense was rookie breakout, Dameon Pierce. They drafted him in the fourth round, and he turned out much better than they could’ve hoped. He went for over 100 yards in six of his 12 games and genuinely looked like a good running back. With a new rookie QB, this Texans team have enough pieces to pull out at least a marginally better record in 2023.


Points: No. 27

Yards: No. 30 (Pass: No. 10 | Run: 32nd)


     Tackles: Jalen Pitre (147 Combined)

     Sacks: Jerry Hughes (9)

     Takeaways: Jalen Pitre (5 INT, 1 FR)

Another rookie breakout for the Texans was Jalen Pitre. Pitre surprisingly finished as the No. 1 overall Safety in IDP formats and as you can see- led this defense. 147 tackles put him at No. 11 overall, and his five interceptions tie him for No. 5 most in the league. Rookie Derek Stingley looked decent as well but missed nearly half the season. As demonstrated by how stark the difference in performance against the run and the pass was, they clearly just need to work on their defensive line/linebackers.

Offseason Lookahead

Estimated Cap Space: $37.1 million

Top 3 Draft Picks: Round 1- Pick 2 & Pick 12, Round 2- Pick 33

Pending Fantasy Relevant Free Agents:

  1. Rex Burkhead
  2. Chris Moore
  3. Phillip Dorsett
  4. Royce Freeman
  5. O.J. Howard
  6. Jordan Akins

Potential Cuts:

  1. Jerry Hughes, DE (Saves $5m)

Team Needs:

  1. Quarterback
  2. Offensive Line
  3. Linebacker
  4. Defensive Line
  5. Wide Receiver
  6. Tight End

The Texans have the No. 5 most cap space and two picks in the top 12 of the draft. They are positioned very well to have a more than decent rebuilding year. John Metchie may also be returning from Leukemia which should help a ton in the passing game.

There’s nothing quite like a decent slot WR for rookie QBs to throw to. Cody Carpentier has them drafting Bryce Young at No. 2 and then EDGE at No. 12 which makes a ton of sense. They really do need to get pressure on the QB. If they don’t go EDGE, there’s a small chance they stack Young with a rookie WR. That is something that could really open this offense up.

Player(s) to Buy Low on: Nico Collins and John Metchie