Again, this is anticipated to be one of the best divisions in football. Four high powered offenses combine to create a very high scoring division. In 2016, they were the highest scoring division by almost 200 points. ¾ of these teams have been NFC champions in the last 10 years and they’re hot favorites to produce another this year. The NFC South plays the AFC East and the NFC North this year so the only real tests are New England and Green Bay. Below is my prediction for each team.
Last year 11-5
This year 10-6
The Falcons will show regression from last year. In an increasingly tough division I doubt they’ll be able to maintain their record from last year. Matt Ryan had a career year last year and if you look at the rest of his time in the league, I don’t think he’ll maintain it. Kyle Shanahan has left for San Francisco but the Falcons have got a young, talented defense. In a division full of talented offenses, a good defense will help them retain the division title.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last year record 9-7
This year 10-6
I LOVE what the Buccs have done on offense this year. While their O line still has room for improvement, they have added DeSean Jackson as a deep threat and O.J. Howard to compliment Cameron Brate at tight end. Jameis Winston utilised his weapons excellently last year and the additions this year only look to bolster their attack. Doug Martin was awful last year and although he misses 3 game this year, I believe he comes back to march Tampa Bay to the playoffs.
New Orleans Saints
Last year record 7-9
This year 9-7
The Saints have been one of the most prolific offenses for years and things don’t look to alter this year. Drew Brees is almost guaranteed to throw for 5000 yards and 35 TDs and look for a good bulk of them to go to Sophmore WR Michael Thomas. Although they’ve lost Brandin Cooks to the Patriots, they’ve added speedster Ted Ginn who will extend the field. They’ve added Adrian Peterson and drafted Alvin Kamara to their backfield that, with Mark Ingram, should provide a decent running attack. However. questions will be asked about the O line and defense.
Last year record 6-10
This year 8-8
The Panthers reached a Super Bowl in 2015 and had an MVP QB in Cam Newton. Things haven’t been so rosy since with Newton suffering with injury and a lack lustre running game. Cam has had shoulder repairing surgery in the offseason and they’ve drafted Christian McAffery to help Cam in the short passing game. Training camp rumours are hailing McAffery as a real playmaker and if Cam is fully recovered, they could provide a potent backfield attack. The Panthers defense did not live up to its usual standards last year but expect a bounce back this year.
This will be a very closely contested division. This division could easily yield 3 playoff teams and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if any of these teams won the division. Although this division has plenty of playoff calibre, I don’t think we have a Super Bowl winner in this division.
By David Davenport
Image per si.com