- Atlanta Falcons (9-7)*
- New Orleans Saints (9-7)
- Carolina Panthers (7-9)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)
Is there a trickier division in football than the NFC South? I think not.
The defending champions of one of the weakest divisions in football are the Carolina Panthers. They took it home (and even won a playoff game) with a paltry record of 7-8-1.
Aside from Chip Kelly’s madness this spring and summer the other big headline came from New Orleans as they shipped off Jimmy Graham to Seattle. The return on that deal was splendid for the Saints.
Drew Brees loves to climb the pocket. He’s also a shorter guy. This means his interior lineman are just as, if not more important than his bookends. Center Max Unger will prove to be huge this season not only in the run game as he opens holes for Mark Ingram, but for Brees as he steps up in the pocket.
Jameis Winston, Lovie Smith and the Bucs will be dreadful, but I see them growing as a tough out late in the season.
While the Panthers will still boast the best defense in the division, something will go wrong with Cam Newton and the overall team to the point they finish with a mediocre record.
Dan Quinn and the Atlanta Falcons will shock the league and take their first division title since 2012. With an improving offensive line and a defense who’ll be guided by the defensive mind of Quinn, watch for Matt Ryan to enjoy a big season.