Thursday, August 28, 2008

Goin' South, NFC Style

The NFC South has been a strange division. In every season since 2003 the team that was worst followed up by going to first the following season.

This year that trend breaks.

Yes, I actually believe that the Falcons are better than they were a year ago, but this is a team in development, not a team ready to win now. And away we go...

4. Falcons - While I'm not necessarily convinced that this team is going to win more games than they did a year ago, I do think this is a better team than last year's edition if for no other reason than the fact that I believe that Atlanta is better positioned to be successful down the road. However, even though I think four wins is the likely total, I wouldn't be surprised to see this team steal one or two and creep up to six wins.

3. Panthers - The more I have seen of this team since their ill-fated run at the Super Bowl a few seasons back, the more I think that was just one of those fluke seasons where everyone had that one career season, the serendipity of everyone on an otherwise average team peaking at the same time to come within a few minutes of a championship. In an effort to recapture that magic, the team has brought back a 35-year old Muhsin Muhammad to pair with the volatile Steve Smith in spite of the fact that Muhammad seldom got separation in Chicago. If Julius Peppers has a 2008 like his 2007, it's going to be a very long, very unrewarding season in the Carolinas.

2. Buccaneers - Chuckie's boys are the tough out, so to speak of the division. They'll hang around until the end, they'll pound you with a physical running game and a tough defense, but they'll also lose one or two to teams they have no business losing to. Realistically, they have just enough talent to scare some people and play spoiler, but they don't really have enough to get all the way to the Bowl. Chances are that they'll hit 8-8, maybe a repeat of last season's 9-7, and they may even win the division again, but they'll have to overcome the Saints which might be the best team in the division.

1. Saints - The Saints could potentially win 11 or 12 with the talent they have, assuming their defense comes together and Jeremy Shockey doesn't do to their locker room that he did to New York's. The chances of that, I think, are slim as this is a veteran quarterback that Shockey is dealing with, and it's definitively Drew Brees' locker room. This isn't a locker room that had veterans like Tiki Barber undermining the QB, and Brees isn't a guy that let's that stuff get to him (see his time with the Chargers for reference). Of the division's team's that have a shot at the playoffs, I think only the Saints have enough talent to make noise in the post-season.


the blue state blogger said...

I lived in New Orleans for a little while in the early '90s. The first year, the Saint wents 7-0and got everybody all worked up, then of course fizzled at the end. But they've been my favorite NFC team ever since.

Suldog said...

I watched every down Matt Ryan played last year with BC. The kid has as much heart as anyone alive. He also has a strong arm, as well as smarts. He'll light it up NEXT YEAR. Not so much this year. This year, he'll throw a bunch of interceptions that he'll learn not to throw next year :-)

David Sullivan said...

Watch out for those Falcons led by Matty "didn't get the Heisman" Ryan