The NFC South has always been a division that is very tough to call. Each year there’s plenty of surprises, and last season the Panthers came out of nowhere to have a solid regular season, only to have a melt down in their home divisional playoff game vs the Cardinals. There was two playoff teams from this division last year, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see that same thing happen in 2009. Here’s our breakdown of the tough NFC South:
New Orleans Saints (11-5) – The Saints offense hasn’t been the problem the past couple of seasons, it’s been their not so good defense. Now Gregg Williams is aboard to try and get this unit right, and as long as they can not be awful, Drew Brees and the offense will score more than enough points to make the Saints a playoff team once again. Brees is one of the top three QB’s in the league, and if they could ever get Reggie Bush to live up to the hype, the Saints could be a serious contender to the NFC crown.
Carolina Panthers (9-7) – One has to wonder if the playoff collapse of a season ago is going to effect them as they enter 2009. They have a great 1-2 punch at RB between DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, who needs to stay healthy. As for Jake Delhomme, he can be very good sometimes, and very bad the next. They need a lot more of the good Delhomme to be the team they want to be in 2009. The defense is solid, and if they can play as good as they did last season, this team will be a playoff contender.
Atlanta Falcons (8-8) – Matt Ryan’s second season is expected to be another good one, but you have to wonder if he will have a bit of a letdown. Michael Turner was quite the workhorse last season, and they need another big season from him in 09 if they are going to have success. Expect this team to miss the playoffs in Mike Smith’s second season, but to have another season of growth as they look to take the next step.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-13) – It’s going to be a long and tough season for the Bucs. They likely will at some point turn the season over to Josh Freeman at QB, and will have plenty of growing pains on defense as they look to get younger again. Raheem Morris was an interesting hire at head coach, as the team pulled the plug on Jon Gruden. Look for a lot of tough times for the Bucs as they struggle to be competitive in 09.