8 Divisions 8 Days: NFC South Preview

Cam Newton has to perform at a higher level for the Panthers to win the NFC South this season. Photo Courtesy: Parker Anderson
Cam Newton has to perform at a higher level for the Panthers to win the NFC South this season. Photo Courtesy: Parker Anderson

By Matthew Behrndt

The NFC South as a whole is not a very good division. Last year’s winners, the Carolina Panthers finished 7-8-1. It doesn’t happen very often that a team with a losing record finished first in their division.

The division will be very competitive internally. Every team, really has a shot at winning the division but the teams in the division will struggle against other teams outside the division. What it’s going to come down to is who can beat who within the division.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Record (3-13)
With a rookie quarterback, this is going to be another rough year for the Bucs. Even though Jameis Winston looks like he has found a good form. It’s always a big step when players actually care about every game once the season starts unlike the preseason. The good news for Winston is that he has two big targets to throw to on the outside in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. The bad news is, the offensive line doesn’t look to be all that good, making it very likely that Winston will be picking himself off the ground a lot. The defense isn’t very good either, really the only decent part is the d-line but teams will want to throw against a very poor secondary rather than run into the d-line. Struggles will continue for a rebuilding franchise.

Atlanta Falcons: Record (7-9)
The Falcons just like the Saints and Panthers have a legit shot at winning the division. The offense won’t be lacking, they have maybe the best wide receiver duo in the league as well as a two headed running attack. The main problem they need to fix is the o-line, the reason they will finish near the bottom instead of the top is if Matt Ryan doesn’t have time to throw the ball. The defense isn’t that talented either. They lost a lot of veteran presence on the defense and with an inexperienced group of guys out there the defense will struggle. The Falcons need to score a lot in order to win and if the o-line plays better than last year, watch out for the Falcons.

New Orleans Saints: Record (8-8)
The Saints are a very dangerous team. The offense can be very good, with a leader like Drew Brees, everyone’s game play will increase. He has very good weapons that he can use including some very fast receivers that he can throw deep balls to. The weakness, and it’s a big one, is the offensive line. You have to protect Drew Brees if the Saints want to succeed and they haven’t been able to do that the past few seasons. The defense is better, not much better but good enough to give them a chance to compete. They have a very good secondary but a mediocre line-backing crew and a d-line line that has been losing players left and right. All this could lead to teams having great success running the ball and for the Saints to win games, they will have to jump out to an early leads.

Carolina Panthers: Record (9-7)
The injury to Kelvin Benjamin Jr. hurts a good deal to the Panthers offense. However, they still have enough to have a very good offense. For the offense to be good, Cam Newton can’t turn the ball over and players like Devin Funchess will have to step up a lot. Also a rejuvenated Johnathan Stewart would help keep this offense balanced. The defense will be very good once again. The Panthers have two of the best line backers in the league and a very talented d-line. The negative is a weak secondary that could be exposed to a high powered throwing offense. That being said the Panthers should win this division again, and this time with a winning record.