Last year they were the only division in the league who had no team losing more than nine games (even if three teams only won seven). For me, the NFC South is based on who has the better QB. It has always been that way. Even Jake Delhomme was once the best (most adequate would be a better word) QB in the south in 2003….kind of. Every team in this division has flashy playmakers on both sides of the field, but the franchise passers are the people who get it done this this division; that’s why the Bucs were the last team in the division. So here is my list of who I think will take the NFC South crown.
They have two great players in Mark Barron and Doug Martin to build around, but there aren’t any more branches on the tree. Yeah, they have Vincent Jackson (1,384 receiving yards last year) and Kevin Ogletree had one great in for the Cowboys last year, but many people can’t name a lot of their players. Josh Freeman had some sparks last year (i.e. week seven against the Saints), but he is still too unproven; Mike Glennon wasn’t drafted just because. They are still a young team (averaging 3-4 years in the NFL) and aren’t ready to dominate in the NFL….maybe Lebron James and Wade should take some time off and show them how to be champs.
Cam “Superman” Newton….same stats different results. They had one of the easiest schedules last years, but could only win seven games. Yet another young team in the division. The only reason I gave them one step above the Bucs is because of their additions this summer. I see Star Lotulelei as an immediate impact player who can start a ruckus on the line of scrimmage, a bit like Vince Wilfork. Domenik Hixon is another player I have my eye on. I don’t see him as a top tier receiver, but I think he can alleviate some of the stress off of Steve Smith.
I am not hesitant to tell you that I think Matt Ryan is overrated. The only reason his named is mentioned as a top-10 QB is because he has the best receiving corps in the NFL (Tony Gonzalez, Julio Jones and Roddy White to name a few). Even Chad Henne could muster up 4,000 yards in Atlanta. That being said, the Falcons were in nine games last year where it was won by a touchdown or lower. They could have easily been an 8-8 team if there was more time in their games. I do see Steven Jackson and Osi Umenyiora being big factors for their team. At best, I see them losing in the playoffs….again.
I had to give the number one spot to the Saints. Sean Payton is back and Drew Brees is still one of the top QBs in the game. I think the bounty scandal hurt their defense, because they didn’t want people thinking they were still in on it. But now, one year removed from it all, I think they will play like the team they were when they won the Super Bowl. They added a lot of players from around the league to help heal their problems, but I think Sean Payton can mold that clay into victory.