NFC birds fly South

    The NFC South is appearing to be the future of the NFL with the up and coming Tampa Bay Bucs and Carolina Panthers. The top two teams are one of the best top two teams on paper in the league, with the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints.

   1) Atlanta Falcons (12-2) – These Atlanta Falcons have proved to me they can win big games during the regular season. Still not sold on them during the playoffs, but during the regular season they have been the best team this year. Their offense is loaded with guys like Ryan, Jones, White and Tony G. This offense is very difficult to defend. Their defense is solid with a top 3 secondary in the NFL. They have a strong pass rush with Abraham leading their pass rush. I have them finishing 13-3 losing to the Bucs in week 17. I think they will win a game in the playoffs but lose in the NFC Champ game. The will have a 28-32 pick in the draft. With a late pick they should draft Kawann Short Defensive Tackle from Purdue University.

   2) New Orleans Saints (6-8) – The Saints have been destroyed this season after a shoddy investigation and a very quick trigger to suspend Vilma and Smith from the Saints. The Saints seemed lost and confused the first four games of the season in which they lost all four. Brees has seemed this year to be getting hit more than usual. The loss of Nicks seems to be huge for the run game and he blindside. They will not be in the playoffs and will need to patch some holes in the draft and free agency. I believe they will fill the holes on the o-line and the defense. I can see them finishing 8-8 and finishing strong, but I can also see them finish 6-10 and mail the rest of the year in. I will split the difference and say 7-9 and have a top 15-20 pick in the draft. With that pick they should pick Taylor Lewan Offensive Tackle from University of Michigan.

   3) Tampa Bay Bucs (6-8) – The Bucs have shown that the team last year was a distant memory. They finally have a running threat they haven’t had in a while in Doug Martin who as a rookie has had over 1500 total yards. They had a solid offense but their defense is atrocious and can’t stop anybody throwing the ball. They have a very good run defense. Their last game against the Saints was a blip on the radar not something I expect to continue. They have some young players on that defense so I’m expecting a serious step forward next year with a few more draft picks and some player development on the defensive side of the ball. They should finish the season 8-8 and have some momentum going into next year. They will get a middle of the round pick and with that pick they should draft Dion Jordan Defensive End from Oregon.

   4) Carolina Panthers (5-9) – The Panthers have been playing much better these last few weeks. Their wins have been because of the increasingly good play of second year qb Cam Newton. The Panthers have a aging receiver in Steve Smith and a very underrated tight end in Greg Olsen (As a Bears fan I wish we had him back) and 3 running backs that have been paid a lot but are not performing up to the level they should. Their defense is an above average in both the pass and run. Their biggest weakness on offense is receiver and on defense is defensive tackle. They will most likely finish 6-10 and get a good 10-15 range. They should use that pick to draft Sylvester Williams Defensive Tackle from North Carolina.

That’s the NFC South which could be one of best divisions in all of football in a few years.

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