AFC South power rankings: Who sits at the top ahead of Week 1?

AFC South, NFL Power Rankings -Houston Texans, Davis Mills - Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
AFC South, NFL Power Rankings -Houston Texans, Davis Mills - Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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AFC South
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan (2) at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Scheer-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1 team in the AFC South ahead of Week 1: The Indianapolis Colts

46. . . . Indianapolis Colts. 1. team

Chris Ballard has gotten several franchise building blocks during his stint as the Indianapolis Colts general manager. However, he hasn’t been able to get the quarterback position right despite the fact that he’s made several attempts. In his defense, nobody expected Andrew Luck to unexpectedly retire before the 2019 season. But that was three years ago and he should have found a long-term replacement right now.

In an attempt to stabilize the position, Ballard traded for Matt Ryan. The 2016 league MVP should help the Colts compete for a playoff spot in 2022 after not qualifying last year. While he’s currently 37, he still has plenty of gas in the tank and should be an upgrade over Carson Wentz, who is now with the Washington Commanders.

One thing helping Ryan is that he won’t have to carry the team on his shoulders. Jonathan Taylor showed last season that he can take over games. The 2021 rushing leader is in his prime and should be able to keep defenses honest once again this upcoming season.

On defense, Indianapolis acquired Yannick Ngakoue from the Las Vegas Raiders and has a couple of difference-makers in defensive tackle DeForest Bucker and All-Pro linebacker Shaquille (formerly Darius) Leonard.

Hot. 6 teams that could win their first Super Bowl in '22. light

The Colts’ biggest weaknesses ahead of Week 1 might be the lack of a bonafide No. 1 receiver. Michael Pittman is a solid option and rookie Alec Pierce could turn out to be a playmaker. On the other hand, it’s hard to get hyped up about Indy’s wide receiver corps. Having said that, Ryan’s arrival should be more than enough to get the Colts back to the postseason.