The NFC South could possibly the most difficult division in the entire league this year. Three of the four teams made the postseason the previous season. The division is also notorious for having a revolving door of division champions each year. So who will reign supreme this season?
1. The New Orleans Saints
Last season the Saints marched to a division title and this year brings more of the same. Drew Brees is back for his 19th season and is showing no signs of slowing down. New Orleans should also have one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the entire league with players like Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram and a rapidly improving offensive line.
Their defense will also be taking strides as their young secondary of Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Williams get one year older. It also helps to have an extremely workable schedule to start the season, against opponents like the Browns, Giants, Redskins, and Ravens. All of these components are exactly what any NFL team needs to come out on top in their division.
2. The Atlanta Falcons
The 2017 season was a peculiar one for the Atlanta Falcons. After their epic Super Bowl collapse at the hands of the New England Patriots, they never seemed to be able to put it all back together. Of course, their new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian had something to do with their rocky transition. But now that Sarkisian has an entire NFL season of play calling under his belt, maybe he can help find some consistency.
It isn't like he is going to have a shortage of talent to work with. Matt Ryan just became the highest paid quarterback in the history of the league, Julio Jones is sick, they have a two-headed monster in the backfield in Tevin Colman and Devonta Freeman, and have a defense full of speed. Rookie Calvin Ridley can also step right into a starting role with the team, and we all know what he is capable of doing. Even though they have a pretty tough first half of the season, this team has enough talent to make it to the playoffs.
3. Carolina Panthers
Unlike last season, I don't believe there will be three teams from the south making the playoffs and Carolina will be the first one to fall short. With losses like Kelvin Benjamin, Andrew Norwell, and Jonathan Stewart it's safe to say that the offense will be a little limited. Just like years past their offensive performance will solely revolve around Cam Newton. And unless your quarterback's last name is Brady or Rodgers you shouldn't be fully depending on him for your entire offense.
It isn't like they can just bank on their defense like years past either. They're old in very important positions. Their best pass rusher Julius Peppers is 38, linebacker Thomas Davis is 35, and safety Mike Adams is 37. No team should be very comfortable with those kinds of ages. Their schedule is full of toss-up games which aren't great, and I would always pick against them if they were playing Atlanta or New Orleans.
4. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
To me, the Bucs are like a B+ poster board project without the glue. Their missing glue is the offensive line, head coach, and quarterback consistency. Tampa Bay is pretty much loaded at all other positions though. It is an alarming waste of talent when you can't make the playoffs with guys like Mike Evans, Desean Jackson, Oj Howard, Lavonte David and Gerald Mccoy. Any other coach would kill to have that kind of players. But I bet no one would want to take a situation like Jameis Winston's.
The quarterback is suspended for the first three games of the regular season. Oh, and those three teams were playoff teams last season and much better overall than the Bucs. To be honest I wouldn't like their chances against those teams even if Winston was out there. It's simply a lack of faith in the quarterback and head coach and those kinds of issues will sink the Buccaneers ship quickly.