NFL 2022 AFC South preview: Cobb has Colts, Titans, pretty even

Garry Cobb knows a few things about the National Football League.

The current FOX analyst, and 11-year NFL veteran, is really high on two teams–one in each conference–that could be this year’s Bengals, who came from nowhere to go to the Super Bowl LVI.

When Cobb looked at the AFC South for, it became apparent that this division, which was won easily in 2021 by the Tennessee Titans, should be a two-horse race in 2022.

Which could be a team like the Cincinnati Bengals that come out of nowhere to challenge?

Looking through the league, a team that might shock some people might be the Saints. They are a team with an outstanding defense: they had an outstanding defense last year. But the whole thing is going to come down to Jameis Winston. Jameis Winston has shown promise, but he has not lived up to the player that many thought he was going to be coming into the league. But I thought last year, we started to see some things like that of a seasoned veteran. Because he had to sit on the bench for a while, it seems like he is a lot more settled. He knows the offense now. New Orleans is a team I would watch out for, because they have that strong defense, and they were able to grab Chris Olave in the draft, they have Jarvis Landry, and Michael Thomas is coming back.

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If Jameis Winston plays well, I think the New Orleans Saints can make some noise. It is hard for me to say this, because I played my whole career in the NFC, but I think the AFC is a much better conference, mainly because of the quarterbacks. But I think the NFC, that is why a team like New Orleans could be some trouble for some teams.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Indianapolis makes some noise, too. Indianapolis has a very good running game, a good defense, and they made the change at the quarterback position to Matt Ryan. You brought him in instead of Carson Wentz. You have Jonathan Taylor, maybe the best running back in the NFL now. And don’t forget, they have a backup quarterback in Nick Foles: who knows, maybe he can pull it off again if Matt Ryan were to get hurt. But the Colts also have an outstanding defense. 

Who are the best teams in the AFC, and who wins the conference title?

I am going to say Buffalo in the AFC. Not just because Josh Allen is a special player, or they added so much talent to their roster. Last year, they had a great secondary, but they didn’t have any pass rush. But they went out and got Von Miller: Von Miller can rush the passer. I think he is going to be a shot in the arm. They have added some other guys who are better pass rushers, and I think they are going to be able to get to the quarterback. And with Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, they are going to score points. 

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And this might be the biggest thing: I think they are very hungry. They were a team that was in pain when they lost that AFC Divisional Game to Kansas CIty. They are hungry to go to the next level, so I expect Buffalo to be the team from the AFC. It is going to be tough over there, because Kansas CIty is still there, and there are so many other good teams that we have talked about. Cleveland is a good team with Deshaun Watson, Baltimore is a good team, Cincinnati was in the Super Bowl, the Colts we talked about, you have Tennessee who had the best record in the AFC last year, and they are going to be back. You look at the AFC West, all of those teams are going to be in the hunt.