Welcome back to my preseason preview. This week I’ll be going over the NFC South division. The most competitive division in the NFL last year with three teams winning at least 10 games. The NFC South has also represented the NFC in the Superbowl in two of the last three games so this division should not be taken lightly.
The Falcons have really developed into one of the best teams in the NFC. Dan Quinn has brought a fierce defensive attitude to compliment an explosive offense that features arguably the most balance between the run and pass game. With names like Julio Jones, Mohammed Sanu, Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, good luck trying to key in on a specific player. The loss of speedster, Taylor Gabriel may hurt, but Calvin Ridley was selected in the draft and he would be tasked with assuming the role that Receiver Gabriel used to have in the offense. I expect the Falcons to lead the way this season in the NFC South!
Notable acquisitions: WR Calvin Ridley, G Brandon Fusco
Notable losses: DT Dontari Poe, WR Taylor Gabriel, DE Adrian Clayborn
Just like the Falcons, the Carolina Panthers have been to the mountaintop only to come up short in the big game. Last season was a step in the right direction for the Panthers as they made the playoffs and looked to get things right on offense and defense by getting players back from injury. A mid-season trade saw them ship number one wideout, Kelvin Benjamin to the Bills and they’ve shifted more to using speedsters on the outside. The Panthers also brought in Norv Turner, expect a lot of down the field shots and possibly Cam’s best year as a passer? Seems like it could be a nice match for Panthers.
Notable acquisitions: DT Dontari Poe, RB CJ Anderson, WR Jarrius Wright, WR D.J. Moore
Notable Losses: FS Kurt Coleman, RB Jonathon Stewart, DT Star Lotulelei, G Andrew Norwell
New Orleans Saints
The Saints are an intriguing team. Once very reliant on their offense to win them games, we have now seen them employ more balance with a strong defense. Balance has also been seen on the offensive side of the ball. Utilizing the run more and opening up opportunities with play-action has made the Saints an even tougher team to defend. The leaders of the team have not changed, Drew Brees and Sean Payton are still going strong but the supporting cast has gone through an overhaul of sorts. Alvin Kamara was a nice find in the third round of the NFL draft in 2017 as he produced in the run and pass game and should be a big threat going forward. Michael Thomas is as good as they come in terms of an elite level receiver in the NFL. I expect a lot of points scored in a variety of ways with this New Orleans team.
Notable acquisitions: RB Shane Vereen, WR Cam Meredith, LB Demario Davis
Notable Losses: SS Kenny Vaccaro, DT Nick Fairley, QB Chase Daniels
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are trying to get to the level of the other three teams in their division. Since winning the Superbowl in 2002, they have appeared in only two post-season games, losing both. Things looked to be turning when Tampa Bay selected Jameis Winston first overall back in 2015 but off the field issues have halted his development at times. Coming into this season Winston will be serving a three-game suspension for an incident involving an Uber driver. Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the starter come week one and it may not even be a given that Winston gets the starting job back once he is eligible to return. Winston has the ability to be a good Quarterback in this league, he seems to get in own way with immature acts off the field. How many more chances will he get if he doesn’t learn from this recent incident?
Notable Acquisitions: DE Jason Pierre-Paul, DE Mitch Unrein,
Notable Losses: J.R. Sweezy, RB Doug Martin
If you want to see past previews, click on the links below