With the NFL season just around the corner, it’s time to throw out some wild predictions about how the teams will shape up and which players will thrive in 2014.
Few divisions are as consistent as the NFC South. When I say consistent I mean that every single year, someone new rises to the top and predicting the way the standings are going to shape out is just a waste of time. Last year’s division champ looks a lot different this season, while the two teams that finished at the bottom are primed for much better seasons.
Here are my predictions for the NFC South this season:
1, New Orleans Saints (11-5)
2. Carolina Panthers (9-7)
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9)
4. Atlanta Falcons (5-11)
Even though they lost Darren Sproles to the Eagles this offseason, the Saints return mainly everyone from last year’s playoff team. The Panthers on the other hand, lost a key offensive lineman and basically all of their wide receivers. Carolina’s running game will keep them in games, but they will be a far cry from the 12 wins they had last season. Tampa Bay is set to have a much better offense this year, especially if Doug Martin stays healthy, and added pieces in several different areas after a disappoint season. I think the Bucs win the division two years from now, but will fall somewhere around .500 this season. And the Falcons…they need their defense to toughen up and their O-line to keep Matt Ryan upright. Too many “ifs” in Atlanta for my taste.
Here are some individual awards:
NFC South Offensive Player of the Year: Drew Brees, NO
NFC South Defensive Player of the Year: Gerald McCoy, TB
NFC South Rookie of the Year: Mike Evans, TB
NFC South X-Factor: Kenny Vaccaro, NO
NFC South Coach of the Year: Sean Payton, NO