NFC South Predictions
New Orleans Saints (12-4)
The defending Super Bowl champions aren’t looking to end their magical run anytime soon. The #1 Offense in 2009 looks to continue dominating the scoreboard, hardly losing anything from last year. Their defense disappointed statistically last year (25th in yards allowed), but to be honest they were on the field quite a bit due to Drew Brees and company scoring so quickly. They add speedy corner Patrick Robinson due to a defense that already had “take-it-to-the-house” threats at multiple positions. The Saints will again be the team to beat in the NFC.
Atlanta Falcons (9-7)
After a disappointing season that saw them miss the playoffs after a magical 11-5 season in 2008, Matt Ryan and the rest of the Falcons seem to have rededicated themselves to the cause. Michael Turner is now in better shape and will have to dominate once again if Atlanta wants to make it back to the promised land. Unfortunately, the Falcons are in the same division as the Saints – and merely adding Sean Weatherspoon and Dominique Franks isn’t going to cut it.
Tampa Bay Bucs (6-10)
Simply put, this team needs more good football players. They added a few during the NFL Draft, with the likes of d-linemen Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, along with receivers Regis Benn and Mike Williams joining the fold. The defensive linemen will be expected to make an impact right away, although it’s going to take a while for the new receivers to gel with their quarterback. Josh Freeman will need to cut down on his 18 interceptions and 20 sacks. That might be a tough task, as little was done to solidify an offensive line that gave up 33 sacks last year.
Carolina Panthers (6-10)
Jake and Julius have moved on to northern pastures, so Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen will be fighting it out to see who can start the rebuilding process in Carolina, while Greg Hardy and Eric Norwood will be looked on to fill the pass-rushing role left vacant by Peppers. With a tough division and a possibly lame-duck coach, this doesn’t look like the Panthers’ season. Steve Smith has proved us wrong before, but (insert flag football joke here). Jon Beason and Charles Godfrey will need to keep the defense on point if they are going to win some games in 2010.