2008 Divisional Predictions: NFC South

Marques Colston

Many feel that the NFC South is going to be a competitive toss up of a division in 2008, with all but the Falcons capable of winning the division.  Many feel that the Saints are going to rebound after a tough 2007 that saw them start 0-4, the Bucs are the champs and have made some moves to get younger and some think better, and the Panthers have gotten healthy and should be better.  With that, here is our breakdown of the NFC South.

New Orleans Saints 11-5: For some reason I think the Saints are still going to have some issues, mostly on the defensive side of the ball, in 2008.  They have a lot of firepower on offense, but have some questions at the RB spot as well.  They need Reggie Bush to really step up and prove his worth this year, and have to avoid turnovers, which hurt them early in the 07 season.  Jeremy Shockey is going to add even more to the offense, and they should have enough to win 11 games and take the division.  Who knows what the future will hold after that though.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-7: They come off a division title but really started to falter down the stretch last year and then didn’t play well at all in the playoff loss to the Giants.  They have tried to shift the defense and get younger, and they have done a good job there, and the offense needs to be more consistent like they were early in the season.  They have the backs to carry the load even with Carnell Williams on PUP.  They will need a repeat performance from Jeff Garcia at QB to have a winning season, and while he should play well, it won’t be well enough to win the division over the Saints.

Carolina Panthers 8-8:
Will a .500 record be enough to keep John Fox’s job?  That remains to be seen, as 8 wins is about the limit for this team.  They need a healthy Jake Delhomme to lead the offense, and are hoping that rookie Jonathan Stewart will have an impact on the running game.  On defense, Juilus Peppers has looked like his old self in preseason, and his play could be a huge factor in how good the defense is.  This team has simply been awful at home for the past few years, and has to reverse that trend to be better this year.

Atlanta Falcons 3-13: This is a rebuilding project that will take at least 2-3 years to get turned around.  The Falcons are starting basically from scratch, and with new coach Mike Smith and rookie QB Matt Ryan, they have a long way to go.  Michael Turner is going to help the running game, and Roddy White is a solid target, but there are holes on the O-line and the defense is going to give up points in bunches.  Come see me in a few years.


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