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No division is more stacked with young proven talent then the NFC south. A division that saw two teams make the playoffs and a 3rd barely missing a playoff berth with a 10-6 record. These teams will only get better and this division might see a new team on top of the wins column at season’s end.
The NFC South is home to the Atlanta Falcons who finished 13-3 this past season and although their record might not improve this upcoming season, the team along with its young quarterback most certainly will. At 26, young Ryan or Matty Ice as he has been called due to his cool calm demeanor in crunch time has had his best year in a very short career and look for that to improve.
Management and his coaches have drafted him a young, potentially great receiver in Julio Jones to go along with his many other weapons which will undoubtedly improve the offense that faltered in the playoffs. Of course they will need to improve a poor pass defense that couldn’t stop anyone last season, but as the draft has shown us, they will be trying to outscore everyone and hope it is enough. I see them coming 2nd in the division at 11-5 this upcoming season.
Carolina Panthers finished 2-14 last season which got them the number one pick for their troubles…with that pick, the Panthers drafted a franchise quarterback or at least one who has the potential to be in Cam Newton. They were the worst passing team in the league last season but the bright spot remains the running game. That running game might suffer if they don’t sign Deangelo Williams this off season and improve that horrendous line.
It’s still a question who will start and what exactly they will do with Jimmy Clausen, the quarterback they drafted last season. There are no real weapons on this team besides an old Steve Smith and the running game; so I don’t expect much on the offensive end of the ball. At best, the Panthers will finish 5-11 this season… if we ever play and Newton will play by week 7.
New Orleans has been the class of this division for the last couple years but look for things to change a bit this season…not a big drop off in terms of wins but it won’t be as easy as it was at one point in this division. The Saints finished 11-5 last season in an improved division that will only get better, but they are getting older while the division gets younger.
The offense will be there as long as the weapons stay healthy and Drew Brees remains at the helm, the running game needs help of course… which is why they drafted the Heisman winner Ingram- I wonder what that means for Bush who has had his fair share of problems along with USC lately. The defense was good protecting against the pass but age is catching up to them quickly. They didn’t do much to address that but we will see how that affects them in this division. 10-6, therefore finishing 3rd in the NFC South.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the hand are young and on the rise in terms of power teams in the NFL. What we saw last season was a glimpse of what was to come for this team and this quarterback Josh Freeman who I didn’t expect this much from at this stage in his career.
They finished 10-6 last season, it is quite obvious at this point that this team is much more than just a good young signal caller; although we can’t over state how good he proved to be. The defense is young and fast, they will need to improve the rush defense…hopefully their two young D-Ends will help the defense as soon as possible. Clayborn and Bowers are both beast on the line and will push each other; we will have to wait and see what they will get from Bowers whom every team passed on time and time again. I see big things for these two players and this team, the defense will need their troubled cornerback Aqib Talib to dominate this cover 2 in order for things work… if he even plays.
I’m picking the Buccaneers to come out of the NFC South and the play for the NFC title this season. At 12-4, they will be the class of the NFC for a while.
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