NFC South Predictions


1) Carolina Panthers – 12-4

The Panthers look like one of the most complete teams in the league. A combination of Deshaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams should improve the running game to at least servicable and Keyshawn will fit in nicely as Carolina’s number two receiver. Their defense is always tough although they’ll miss Will Witherspoon. If Kris Jenkins and Dan Morgan stay healthy then we’re not sure how any team can run on these guys. This team has to be considered a strong Super Bowl contender.

2) Atlanta Falcons – 10-6

Atlanta quietly and effectively addressed their needs in free agency and the draft – John Abraham was brought in to provde a rush off the end, Lawyer Milloy and Jimmy Williams were brought in to fortify the secondary and Ernie Hartwell will be back from injury to play the middle linebacker spot. The key to this season will be Michael Vick. If he can actually buy into the west coast offense and play quarterback as opposed to running around like a maniac and throwing side arm to Alge Crumpler then the Falcons have a shot at being very good. My prediction is that Vick doesn’t buy into the program and by Week 6 Matt Shaub bercomes the starter and leads them to the playoffs.

3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 9-7

This was the team I had the toughest time getting a read on. John Gruden is one of the best coaches in the game. We expect Chris Simms and Carnell Williams to get better. David Boston was signed to play wide receiver next to Joey Galloway and Michael Clayton and his presence should mean that more Bucs players will get their hands on the performance enhancing drugs they need to succeed. The offensive line, which has been the weak link on the Bucs, should be better with the additions of monster rookie guard Davin Joseph. We worry this will be the year age will catch up with the Bucs defense but if Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber and Anthony McFarland can still be as producitve as they have in the past, this team has the potential to make it very far.

4) New Orleans Saints – 5-11

They finally dumped Aaron Brooks and picked up Drew Brees, who if his arm strength recovers from shoulder surgery will bring much needed stability to the Saints franchise. We believe Reggie Bush will be great and we like the skill position players the Saints have. I just question whether they have enough on either the offensive line or on the defense to make much noise in a tough division. They lost LeCharles Bentley and Darren Howard in the off-season and didn’t adequately replace them.

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