For its first 11 years of their NFC South’s presence, starting in 2002, no division champion had replicated. Now it has happened twice in five years. Can the Saints do it again?
The NFC South has always been a strange monster. Until recently, every group had that one opponent that they either possessed or couldn’t beat. For those of us generating NFL selections, it was like a few of the matchups in college football which were one-sided, you didn’t need to find out more about the sport, just circle the club together with the border.
That is a bit less so in the last few years but do not kid yourself, within this region of the nation where they take college football very badly, they do the exact same with those four groups.
Here’s a look at the latest NFL chances to win the NFC South and New Orleans is preferred to be the next three-peat champion.
NFC South Division – (from 5Dimes – upgraded 8/17)
New Orleans -148
Tampa Bay +1500
The Saints have the weapons to repeat, but the truth is that the quarterback play in this branch is as strong as any of the eight at the league as we’ve seen many occasions that may alter the standings. But going into a new year, we believe the oddsmakers are spot on and support their options.
1) New Orleans Saints
In a league in which coaches and players come and go with regularity, New Orleans has done what top franchises do, they stay the program. When Bountygate happened and the Saints went 7-9 in four of five years, many owners would have wanted change. However, GM Mickey Loomis rebuilt New Orleans without having to rip it to the ground and Sean Payton remained true to himself. The Saints have had REALLY bad luck in the play at the past two seasons, how can they catch a break and win everything?
2) Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons have the key employees to do battle with New Orleans. That’s not their problem. Catching or surpassing them revolves around Atlanta putting together an offensive line that could rank near the Top 10. This means both in moving the line of scrimmage at the series and shielding Matt Ryan if he drops back to pass. To return to the playoffs as a wild card or division champ, trainer Dan Quinn must get an excellent defense. They do not have to be Measure 5, only be able to stop the run, rush the passer and create turnovers because they did three years ago when they nearly won the Super Bowl. Would Atlanta clean this up? We’ll find out.
3) Carolina Panthers
4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It may be a terrific story if Jameis Winston and Bruce Arians can turn into the football version of the movie,”Karate Kid.” This is the point where the old master takes an undisciplined youngster and molds him into one of the finest in his sport. But football is a team game and even if Arians could turn Winston to a leading 12 quarterback, Tampa Bay has numerous other holes to fill, it would take a few bushels of Gorilla Tape to seal all of the cracks that the Buccaneers have. The Bucs will improve but they will nonetheless be basement bound.
Writer/Handicapper Doug Upstone was a registered 50-34, 59.5% at sports betting monitors at the NFL last year and is 15-7 the previous three years from the NFL preseason. Follow his NFL picks here at SportsBookReview.com.