Jaguars ability to repeat as AFC South champs in 2023 should not be in question

Jan 14, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16).
Jan 14, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16). / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have gotten the spotlight lately but that's expected when you take into account that they're coming off a playoff trip and an AFC South title. On top of that, they have one of their best quarterbacks in the NFL in Trevor Lawrence, so it doesn't look like they'll stop getting attention anytime soon. Having said that, there are questions about their ability to repeat as division champions but they can be easily disregarded when you give the Jags a close look.

Lawrence is quickly ascending into the upper echelon of quarterbacks and the Jaguars are doing what they can to ensure that he keeps improving next season. Besides adding Calvin Ridley to their wide receiver corps, they reshuffled their offensive line, moving Walker Little to his natural spot at left tackle and plugging rookie Anton Harrison on the right side. Furthermore, rookie Luke Fortner is set to keep making strides in his sophomore campaign.

You can rightfully point out that the Jags need to bolster their pass rush but they're waiting for their young players to develop. In case, they don't, the team's brass can easily reach out to a proven veteran such as Frank Clark or a familiar face in Yannick Ngakoue. On the other hand, Jacksonville has lots of talent in the secondary. Rayshawn Jenkins was the player the Jags thought when they signed him in 2021 while fellow safety Andre Cisco should keep trending up. At cornerback, the Jags have a pretty good tandem in Tyson Campbell and Darious Williams.

Other AFC South teams have to make ground to catch the Jacksonville Jaguars

Simply, the Jaguars have enough talent to repeat as champions next season and even seize the second or first seed in the playoffs. The fact that other teams in the division are playing catchup should only increase their odds.

The Indianapolis Colts drafted their quarterback of the future in Anthony Richardson but Michael Pittman Jr. is their only viable receiving option. It's also fair to wonder if cornerstone players such as linebacker Shaquille Leonard, running back Jonathan Taylor and guard Quenton Nelson can rebound after underperforming last year.

On the other hand, the Tennessee Titans are going through a rebuild. They were in the cap crunch in the offseason and had to move on from linebacker David Long, center Ben Jones, and right guard Nate Davis. This would have been fine if their front office had been able to replace them but they didn't. They also face questions at wide receiver while Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry have been the subject of trade speculation throughout the offseason. However you look at it, it's hard to see the Titans making a playoff push next season.

The one team that could realistically challenge the Jaguars for the AFC South title is the Houston Texans. Under first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans, they'll be the kind of squad that will play until the whistle blows. General manager Nick Caserio added several players in free agency that should have an immediate impact. And with rookies C.J. Stroud and William Anderson Jr. joining the roster, the Texans should make huge strides after finishing 3-13-1 last year.

All things considered, the Jags are in a favorable position to repeat as division champs but that hasn't stopped analysts wondering if they'll be able to pull it off. Will Brinson of CBS Sports sees Jacksonville repeating but also questions their history of sustained success.

Similarly, Brad Ganon of Bleacher Report thinks the Jaguars have a shot at making the Super Bowl but believes the Cincinnati Bengals and the Detroit Lions have better odds. Granted, reaching the championship game is no walk in the park but Jacksonville should be seen as one of the top teams in the conference rather than a darkhorse contender.

The good news is that the Jacksonville Jaguars are building something special and their players know it. Inside the building, there seems to be a belief that they can reach their Super Bowl and if that's the feeling, does it really matter what others think?

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