Which AFC South rival should Colts fear most in 2022 season?
By Mike Luciano
The Indianapolis Colts have been stuck in second place in the AFC South for several years, as the constant rotating door of starting quarterbacks has helped make chaos a somewhat consistent theme around this organization. Chris Ballard is trying everything to achieve stability in 2022 and beyond.
The addition of Matt Ryan is going to give the offense much more consistency than they had previously, while drafted players like Alec Pierce and Jelani Woods could develop into stars. Jonathan Taylor’s breakout season will likely be followed up with a star-affirming Year 3.
Unfortunately for Indianapolis, all of those enhancements have come at a time when the division around them has grown much stronger. The Jaguars already look much more reliable after the unmitigated Urban Meyer disaster, and the Texans are in a much better position than most believe.
Even with all of those factors in play, the Colts still need to figure out how to overcome the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South. Ryan Tannehill under center, Derrick Henry in the backfield, and Mike Vrabel on the sideline will all play a part in making Tennessee Indy’s biggest rival this year.
Titans remain the biggest threat to the Indianapolis Colts
Most teams would be utterly distraught after losing AJ Brown and Julio Jones in the same offseason, but Tennessee managed to rebound by signing Robert Woods from the world champion Rams and using a first-round pick acquired in the Brown trade on Arkansas standout Treylon Burks.
After being let down for years by horrendous pass defenses, a Tennessee secondary built around three young corners in Kristian Fulton, Caleb Farley, and Roger McCreary with Kevin Byard at safety will be hard for Matt Ryan to torch consistently. Tennessee might be the preseason division favorites once again.
The biggest obstacle that Tennessee has in their way is at quarterback. Tannehill took a serious step backward in his first season without Arthur Smith as his offensive coordinator. Malik Willis won’t play right away, but the fact they used a pick on him could be a sign that they are worried about Tannehill.
The Colts can certainly catch the Titans this season if they end up hitting a proverbial grand slam in the early weeks of the season and the vengeful fingers of the football gods stay away from them.
Tennessee is a solid team that is a bit wounded, and it’s incumbent on the Colts to twist the knife even further.