2011 NFL Predictions: NFC South

Last week I gave my predictions for the AFC West and the NFC West. With those out of the way, I can move on to the good teams of the NFL. Starting with the NFC South. But don’t get me wrong, there are still some really poor teams that I haven’t covered yet and one of them is in this division. The NFC South has three potential playoff teams, and one team that I see tying a couple others for the worst record in the NFL. You probably guessed the team by now, the Carolina Panthers.

What are the Panthers going to do with Newton next year after they draft Andrew Luck?

I said last week that I like the teams that didn’t change much coming into this season and the Panthers are not one of those teams. They have a new coach, a new offense, and a new quarterback, none of which are very impressing at this point. They brought in some interesting talent, such as Greg Olson and Legedu Naanee, but it all comes down to the fact that Cam Newton or Jimmy Clausen will be their quarterback this year. I can’t see either quarterback causing defenses to not focus on the Panthers running game, the one strong point of the team. For the first time in his life, Cam Newton is getting paid to play football, but he will never be a top quarterback in this league.

The Buccaneers are the most interesting team in this division. They narrowly missed the playoffs last year, going 10-6. Their six losses came against good teams, the Steelers, Saints, Falcons twice, Ravens and Lions. The Lions are the only team from that group that did not make the playoffs last year, but like the Bucs, they are an intriguing young team. Josh Freeman, LeGarrette Blount, and Mike Williams make that offense very dangerous, but they aren’t quite there yet and will miss the playoffs again this year, but not by much.

My fantasy team is counting on Blount having a good year...

Both the Falcons and the Saints will make it to the playoffs this year. According to Roddy White, the Falcons will “remind you of the Greatest Show on Turf.” He’s not crazy. Matt Ryan will be channeling his inner Kurt Warner this year. The Falcons will 12-4 to win the division, while the Saints and Buccaneers will go 10-6. The Saints will make the playoffs as a wildcard based on tiebreakers and the lowly Panthers will match last season’s record at 2-14.

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8 Responses to 2011 NFL Predictions: NFC South

  1. The Falcons defense is still kind of iffy. Ray Edwards should help with that, but there are still question marks. Who ever gets their defense playing the best between the Falcons and the Saints will win the division. Their offenses cancel themsleves out. If the Panthers draft Andrew Luck, they’ll probably trade Cam Newton.

  2. I have to disagree with your assessment of the Panthers. They actually put a lot of effort into keeping the roster largely the same. What they did change was a coaching staff that had run its course in Carolina and could no longer lead the team to success

    Also, Cam Newton will probably be a star in the NFL. He’s actually got quite good mechanics coming out of college but the lockout hurt him by slashing his practice/development time. I expect him to have flashes of brilliance but be generally inconsistent this year but there’s no way Carolina goes anywhere near Andrew Luck next year. You don’t draft a guy no. 1 and then dump him one year on. Even Jamarcus Russell got nearly two years as a starter.

  3. Pingback: 2011 NFL Predictions: AFC South | Outside is Overrated

  4. noahcruzan says:

    You should have known I was going to leave my comments…

    I agree with guywholikessports; you have to remember that the Panthers are bringing back a lot of their core players, players who will make an impact (Thomas Davis, Jeff Otah). Not to mention, we just re-signed Jeff Hangartner(spelling?) to sure up the O-Line, which should take us back to “Double Trouble” (Williams and Stewart = the only tandem in NFL history with 1100 yards in the same season).

    Cam Newton may not “WOW” us this season and he’s not being asked to. If you look back on our previous QB’s, they were simply asked to not turn the ball over. Delhomme could not understand this. Newton has yet to turn it over in the preseason and I think turnovers will play a BIG part this season for him. If he can complete 15-20 passes a game, without turning the ball over, we should be able to make it to 4-12 or 5-11.

  5. Pingback: 2011 NFL Predictions: NFC North | Outside is Overrated

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