The NFC South has produced some great match ups in previous years. When the Atlanta Falcons won the 16/17 NFC Championship, the NFC South became the first Division to have all 4 of it’s teams represent the NFC in a Super Bowl, since the league realignment.
The last few years the NFC South has been owned by the New Orleans Saints, who have unfortunately have not managed to make it to a Superbowl, since they last won it in 2010. But with all of the additions across the 4 teams in the off-season, who will be the Kings of the South?
It should be no surprise to anyone, but the Saints are the hot favourites to reclaim their top spot in the south. With a squad that already boasted some of the best players in the league, the Saints have managed to add Superbowl WR Emmanuel Sanders, former Tampa starting QB Jameis Winston and all round baller Safety D.J Swearinger, just to name a few. The acquisition of Winston is intriguing.Why? Well Drew Brees just signed a 2 year extension and inspite of the amount of TD’s Jameis scored, he threw for 30 INT’s last year. Hopefully some time with one of the most accurate QB’s on the planet has helped him to improve. Either way, Jameis’ poor form led to him being replaced in Tampa with the G.O.A.T himself – Tom Brady.
If I was a Bucs fan right now, I’d definitely be thinking about the real possibility of a Super Bowl. Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowsi, LeSean McCoy – all Super Bowl thoroughbreds, all now leading the Offence and creating dreams for millions of people (Plus some Patriot converts, tut tut tut). Again the talent in Tampa is unquestionable (unless you are Keenan Allen) with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, OJ Howard and Ndamunkong Suh. It’s clear to see that they are going to provide some tough competition and certainly put up some points this year!
Can the Panthers do it?
Probably the biggest loss/change in the NFC South was the departure of Cam Newton and the arrival of Teddy Bridgewater in Carolina. Cam, who had practically carried Carolina for most of his time there until the arrival of Christian McCaffrey in ’17, left for pastures new with the New England Patriots. For me the Panthers have the ‘weakest’ squad in the NFC South. Yes they have some great players but I’m not 100% sold on Teddy B and the lack of Elite WR on the squad. It goes without saying that CMC is the best all purpose back in the NFL so this will really help them and Carolina’s Defence has some great players. For me Carolina finish bottom in the South this year.
The Atlanta Falcons. Maybe one of the most underappreciated, underrated teams in the NFL (Yes I am biased). With a Defence that massively struggled last year due to injuries to significant starters, the Falcons have been very active this off-season trying to boost the depth of their quality. Great pick ups including Josh Hawkins, Dante Fowler and the drafting of A.J Terrell (Clemson) and Marlon Davidson (Auburn) will hopefully have sealed the cracks in a promising defence. The offence almost goes without saying – Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, Alex Mack, Calvin Ridley PLUS new additions Hayden Hurst and Todd Gurley, mean that the Offence really has no excuses not to put up some serious points.
The Shanahan Hangover?
The biggest loss to the Falcons in the last few years was the departure of Kyle Shanahan. Even though many fans blame him for the Super Bowl meltdown (I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT OK?!?!?) the amount of points and how that offence was firing throughout the season – I’m not sure we will see the same under former Tampa HC, turned OC, Dirk Koetter. Either way I really like the Falcons this year and think they will pose the greatest challenge to the Saints, out of the 4 teams.
FINAL STANDINGS PREDICTIONS
- Atlanta Falcons (NFC Champs/SB)
- New Orleans Saints
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Wildcard Potential)
- Carolina Panthers
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