Who are teams in the AFC South facing in Week 1 of 2022?

Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

Who are the Houston Texans and the rest of the AFC South facing in Week 1?

The best time of the year is here for the AFC South football fans as the NFL begins this week with the start of the 2022 regular season. High school and college football have already begun, but now all of us get to watch the Texans continue to make positive steps in their rebuild, starting with Week 1 at NRG Stadium.

Houston will be hosting the Indianapolis Colts in the ’22 season opener, where the quarterback battle will be second-year Texans starter Davis Mills opposing NFL veteran and new Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan.

Ryan joined the Colts this offseason following a successful career with the Atlanta Falcons, a franchise he led to an NFC Championship in 2016, the same season he was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.

In his career with the Falcons — which lasted from 2008-21 — Ryan’s résumé includes 222 career starts, passing yardage of 59,735 in 14 seasons and 367 passing touchdowns.

The thing with the Colts is Ryan isn’t even the best player on the offense, as that player is running back Jonathan Taylor, who is entering his third NFL season since being drafted in the second round (40th overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Taylor made 17 starts for the first time in his career in ’21, and he not only was successful, he was the best running back in the game of pro football. Taylor rushed for 1,811 yards to lead the NFL with an NFL-best 18 rushing touchdowns on 332 carries, which was also the best in the NFL.

The Colts’ running back averaged 106.5 yards per game last season, plus he led the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 2,171 in what was his second season.

Houston’s defense must be ready to slow Taylor down on Sunday, or it will be a very long afternoon for the new-look unit.

Houston and the Colts are scheduled for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff on CBS.

Texans: The rest of the AFC South schedule for Week 1

  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Commanders (1 p.m., FOX)

Jacksonville has a new head coach in Doug Peterson, and the Super Bowl-winning head coach is looking to rebuild the Jaguars franchise like Lovie Smith is with the Texans. Jacksonville had the worst record in the NFL last season, and with their No. 1 overall pick they selected defensive end Travon Walker. In ’21, the Jaguars also had the No. 1 pick and selected quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Those two players are whom Jacksonville are building their respective offense and defense around, and the Jaguars will need success from both players from the very start of the ’22 season when taking on Washington.

  • Tennessee Titans vs. New York Giants (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX)

As for the Titans, even with the early playoff exit last season, the ’21 campaign was a very good year as they were 12-5 overall in the regular season, winning the AFC South crown. The next-closest team in the standings were the Colts at 9-8, followed by the Texans at 4-13 and Jacksonville at 3-14.

With Derrick Henry back healthy and Ryan Tannehill returning at quarterback, the Titans should be the team to beat in the AFC South in ’22. Robert Woods and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine are the two top wide receivers in Tennessee this season, while A.J. Brown is now with the Philadelphia Eagles, so Tennessee’s run to another title in the AFC South will be a bit tougher than last season.

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