AFC South power rankings to begin 2023: The division runs through the Jaguars

• The Jaguars are one of the hottest team in the NFL right now

• How does the rest of the division stack up against them?

A fan holds up a sign before the game of an NFL football regular season matchup AFC South division.
A fan holds up a sign before the game of an NFL football regular season matchup AFC South division. / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA
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The consensus around the league currently favors the Jacksonville Jaguars to win the AFC South in 2023. This isn't necessarily surprising though. Coming off a trip to the playoffs and their first division title since 2017, the Jags have enough talent to repeat both feats this upcoming season. That said, things can change at any given moment.

Even though the Jags had lots of potential heading into the 2022 season, it wasn't a given that they were going to seize the division crown. In fact, they were projected to win six or seven games. The fact that they went 2-6 early in the season did nothing but reinforce the notion that they were going to have yet another losing campaign.

Jacksonville ended up turning the corner and they're currently in the driver's seat to repeat as the AFC South champs. But what about their division foes, who do they stack up against the Jags with the regular season inching closer? Here's a ranking a few days ahead of the 2023 opener.

No. 4 AFC South Power Ranking before Week 1 of the 2023 season: Indianapolis Colts

If you're a fan of the Indianapolis Colts, thanks for reading but why are you reading an article about the Jaguars? Also, you might not pleased with the current direction of the franchise. Owner Jim Irsay stiff-armed Jonathan Taylor in his quest for a long-term extension and their wide receiver corps is depleted.

Michael Pittman Jr. is a fine No. 2 but Indy doesn't have many other options behind him and Alec Pierce. This doesn't bode well for rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, who's slated to start against Jacksonville in the opener.

Richardson has flashed big-play capability but he might need a couple seasons before reaching his full potential. Working in the Colts' favor is that they have a handful of core contributors at full strength. Linebacker Shaquille Leonard is back in the fold after dealing with injuries last year. On the other hand, offensive Quenton Nelson needs to bounce back from a somewhat underwhelming 2022 campaign. Will he pull it off?

Nelson is one of the few building blocks Indianapolis has and the Colts will need him, along with Leonard and other players, to step up if they don't want their season to quickly go south.