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.
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.
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.