We are now into Day 3 of the Countdown to Kickoff and it is still presented to by nobody (still accepting sponsorships though). Over the last two days we looked at the previews of the West Divisions in both the AFC and NFC, over the next two days we will look at the previews of the South Divisions. Today we will be looking at the NFC South, with the AFC South preview coming Monday morning. The NFC South has the runner up from the last two Super Bowls and many believe that a third Super Bowl team could come out of this division this season. The NFC South is probably the best division in football and multiple playoff teams will come out of this division. As always, the team listed first will finish last in the division and so on. Here is the preview of the NFC South as part of Day 3 of the Countdown to Kickoff, still presented to you by nobody.
Finishing fourth in the NFC South will be the New Orleans Saints
The Saints are the most recent team in this division who has won a Super Bowl, but they do not look like a team that will get back there anytime soon. The Saints are trying to squeeze out as many wins as they can before their quarterback Drew Brees retires and goes to the Hall Of Fame. The Saints have many good offensive pieces in Adrian Peterson and Willie Snead, but they do not have the defense to contend in this division. The other three teams have very strong defenses, that can shut down the Saints’ offense. The Defense is the big question mark for the Saints and they are not going to outscore their opponents in offensive shootouts many times this season. In any other division, the Saints are probably a Wild Card contender, but in this division they are a last place team.
Predicted record for the New Orleans Saints- 5-11
Finishing third in the NFC South will be the Carolina Panthers
The Panthers went to the Super Bowl a couple of years ago and have been regressing since. The Panthers got shut down by the Broncos in Super Bowl 50, and have not looked like the same team they were before the start of that game. Last season, the Panthers had many injuries and some players not living up to their potential and they had a very disappointing season. Quarterback Cam Newton, was considered a Top 5 QB while he was going to the Super Bowl, but did not have a good year to follow up his MVP season in 2015. The Panthers are in the toughest division and will have to fight two more teams right to the end of the season for a playoff spot. I do not see the Panthers winning the division, but they will be in the middle of the Wild Card Race in the NFC.
Predicted record for the Carolina Panthers- 10-6
Finish second in the NFC South will be the Atlanta Falcons
Ninety nine times out of a hundred, the Atlanta Falcons win last year’s Super Bowl, but they were unfortunate and lost the big game. The Falcons blew the biggest lead in Super Bowl history to the Patriots, and looked lost during parts of the game. The Falcons were a surprise team last season, for whom everything clicked the right way and they were able to make it to Houston for the big game. This season, the Falcons have a big target on them and high expectations of returning to the Super Bowl and getting the job done this time. The Falcons are going to have to battle the Bucs for the top spot in the division, but will fall just short and will have to settle for a Wild Card. The Falcons go into the 2017 season with a new stadium, so the expectations are going to be really high for the Falcons this season.
Predicted record for the Atlanta Falcons- 11-5
Finishing first in the NFC South will be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs have one of the best rosters and highest expectations in all of football. They were a playoff contender for a majority of last season, before falling short by just a few games. The Bucs improved their roster with the addition of DeSean Jackson to further exemplify the great offense that they have. The Bucs have all the pieces to make a deep run in the playoffs, but they have a very inexperienced roster. Quarterback Jameis Winston has shown great skill and developed into a great quarterback for them, but this will be the first season in his young career, where it will be looked at as a failure if he cannot lead the Bucs to the playoffs. The Bucs will compete with the Seahawks among other teams to secure a first round bye and try to make a run to the Super Bowl. The sky is the limit for this Bucs team, they just have to make sure they do not overlook anyone and fall flat on their feet.
Predicted record for the Tampa Bays Bucs- 13-3
That wraps up the coverage for Day 3 of the Countdown to Kickoff presented to you by nobody. Tomorrow we will flip the script and look at one of the worst divisions in football, AFC South, after looking at the best division in football today.