Trusted NFL insider thinks Titans are biggest threat in the AFC South to the Jaguars

• The Jaguars are the team to beat in the AFC South in 2023

• However, the Titans may be able to keep up with them

Dec 11, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Dec 11, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel and Jacksonville Jaguars. / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars are the favorites to win the AFC South in 2023. However, other teams in the division won't give up without a fight, and NFL insider Ari Meirov believes the Tennessee Titans have the best chance of keeping up with the Jags this upcoming season.

During a media availability session held by the 33rd Team, the Black and Teal asked Meirov who poses the biggest threat to Jacksonville in the division. He said he won't ever rule out the Titans as long as Mike Vrabel is the head coach. Here's his full response.

"I would probably pick Tennessee," Meirvo told the Black and Teal. "For me, ever since Mike Vrabel became a head coach, I'm never going to rule him out of anything. He always gets his players prepared whenever they're underdogs. That is really when we see the best out of the Tennessee Titans. And it was interesting this entire offseason for Tennessee, seeing the way they moved on from so many veterans, whether it was Taylor Lewan or Robert Woods."

"And it felt like they might be resetting a little bit but then, all of a sudden, they went right back into getting some more veterans like DeAndre Hopkins and not trading any other players like Derrick Henry or Kevin Byard and those type of guys who were in some rumors throughout the offseason, so I'll probably pick Tennessee. The team was very much in that division last year until Ryan Tannehill got injured," Meirov said.

Meirov continued, "When they had to go to Malik Willis, or eventually Josh Dobbs during the season, they just couldn't figure it out. But everyone's healthy for the most part, they're also getting Harold Landry back on the defense, so from those three other teams in the AFC South out there, I'd probably pick Tennessee as the team who would be most competitive with Jacksonville heading into the season."

The Titans were in a position to win the AFC South last year until injuries struck. They went on to lose seven consecutive games to finish the season while Jacksonville won seven of their last nine. Despite the fact that Tennessee had dropped six straight games, they would've qualified for the postseason if they had beaten the Jaguars in the finale, but they didn't.

Having won the division last year, the Jaguars are entering the 2023 season as the team to beat. The presence of Trevor Lawrence, along with the depth and talent across the board, gives them a legitimate chance to win the division in back-to-back seasons for the first time since they were in the AFC Central in the late 1990s.

The Jaguars cannot overlook the Titans in 2023

As Meirov noted, the Titans had a soft rebuild in the offseason; they parted ways with key players but didn't dismantle their core and instead made several important additions. They moved on from left tackle Taylor Lewan, linebacker David Long Jr., guard Nate Davis, and defensive end DeMarcus Walker, they added offensive tackle Andre Dillard, defensive end Arden Key, cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Moreover, they used all their draft picks on offense.

Another reason the Titans could challenge the Jaguars is that they're healthy for the most part. Similarly, outside linebacker Harold Landry III, who missed the 2022 season with an ACL injury, is back in the fold. His presence will give a boost to a defensive front that includes Denico Autry and Jeffery Simmons.

This isn't to say Tennessee will outright win the division but they'll have a fighting chance. The Jaguars are — at least on paper — the better team but if they don't get off to a hot start, the race for the divison crown could last until the end of the season.

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