NFL expert explains why Colts can win AFC South in 2023

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (11) celebrates with teammates after scoring a
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (11) celebrates with teammates after scoring a / Robert Scheer/IndyStar / USA TODAY

Although the Indianapolis Colts finished last season with one of the worst records in the NFL, there’s a belief that Indy could win the AFC South in 2023.

The Indianapolis Colts haven’t won the AFC South since 2014. They’ve been to the playoffs a couple of times since then and have had some really promising seasons, but Indy hasn’t been able to get over the hump and actually win the division. Last season, Indy was about as far away from being crowned champion as it had been in a while.

Although the AFC South was wide open, with the 9-8 Jacksonville Jaguars eventually winning it, the Colts were an abysmal 4-12-1, finishing third in the division, only ahead of the Houston Texans. Despite that being the case last season, there’s a belief that Indianapolis could win the AFC South as soon as next year.

Garrett Podell of CBS Sports recently argued that the AFC South will likely be a race between the Jaguars and the Colts in 2023, and made a case for each of them winning. Podell believes the Titans still have the same issues that led to them losing their last seven games last season, and that the Texans still have too many holes, though they should be better than last season.

Colts expected to compete for the AFC South in 2023

As for Indianapolis, Podell thinks Indy is Jacksonville’s only threat because “it's a team that still has the bones of a playoff team from a few years ago.” So how could the Colts actually win the division? Podell says, “With better health and fresh coaching, they could come back to life in 2023.”

Listing all of the talent on Indy’s roster, on both sides of the ball and on the coaching staff, Podell argues that the Colts are equipped to support rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson. However, Indy’s chances of actually winning the AFC South might ultimately rely on Richardson’s development according to Podell.

"If Richardson surprises the league with being further along in his development than many prognosticated during the 2023 draft process, then the Colts have enough to make a run at winning the AFC South."

Garrett Podell (CBS Sports)

These are all fair points by Podell. Indianapolis’ roster is talented, but those talented players have to stay healthy and actually show up. If that happens, Indy’s newcomers will have to also be ready to step up and contribute. Depending on how fast that all happens, the Colts might be getting their first AFC South championship since 2014.