AFC South reporter
For weeks, the Jacksonville Jaguars have looked like the AFC South’s best team.
They gained momentum in November and December when the Tennessee Titans rolled. When the teams met last month, Jacksonville cruised to a double-digit road win. The Jaguars had the healthier, stronger roster on paper led by a Super Bowl-winning coach in Doug Pederson.
Jacksonville winning the division felt inevitable, and now it has finally happened.
Trevor Lawrence threw for 212 yards and a touchdown and Josh Allen returned a fumble for a score late in the fourth quarter as the Jaguars (9-8) captured their second-ever AFC South title with a 20-16 victory over the Titans on Saturday night.
With the win, Jacksonville will be the AFC’s No. 4 seed in the playoffs, set to host the yet-to-be-determined fifth seed in the wild-card round.
The Titans (7-10) appeared to be on a fast track to winning the game, taking a 16-13 lead midway through the fourth quarter. They moved the ball effectively to keep the clock ticking. But at the 2:51 mark, Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins had a sack fumble on quarterback Joshua Dobbs that was recovered for a 37-yard touchdown by Allen.
The Jaguars had cut the deficit to three after picking off Dobbs late in the third quarter. Cornerback Tyson Campbell intercepted a dropped ball by sixth-year quarterback Treylon Burks and returned it to the Titans’ 25. Jacksonville turned the takeaway into a 36-yard field goal by Riley Patterson.
With the win, Jacksonville ended Tennessee’s season. The Titans (7-10), who ended their 2022 campaign on a seven-game losing streak, had won the previous two AFC South crowns. This also marked the first series contest for the Jaguars over the Titans since 2005.
Jacksonville’s previous AFC South title came in 2017, when it made the trip to the AFC Championship. Jacksonville also won back-to-back division crowns in 1998-99 as part of the AFC Central division prior to the NFL’s realignment in 2002.
Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports. He previously worked for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Network, where he was the Titans beat writer for a year and a half. He covered the Seattle Seahawks for SeattlePI.com for three seasons (2018-20) before moving to Tennessee. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.
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