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The NFC South is arguably one of the best divisions in football. Last season ended with the Atlanta Falcons losing to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51. They will be trying to avoid another Super Bowl hangover like the one they had after Super Bowl XXXIII (33) against the Denver Broncos. They went 14-2 that season and 5-11 the next.
The Carolina Panthers played the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 and had a 6-10 record the following season. The New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will both be seeking a division title this year, as neither one has won one since the 2010 Super Bowl champion Saints.
The Saints have had a 7-9 record for the past 3 seasons and are hoping to improve and make a push for the playoffs. The Buccaneers are also looking for their first playoff appearance since 2007. All 4 of these teams have stellar talent and this year will be a very interesting contest between them. Here are our NFC South record predictions for each team in the 2017 regular season.
Atlanta Falcons: 11-5
The Atlanta Falcons had a HUGE season last year. The Falcons made it to the Superbowl last season but fell in devastating fashion to the Patriots in the season finale. They have had some key additions this off season, such as 1st round pick Takk McKinley and free agent DT Dontari Poe. It seems that the Falcons are only getting better. The only question is whether or not they will be victims of the Super Bowl hangover, like their division rival Panthers.
Wins: Bears, Lions, Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Cowboys, Buccaneers, Vikings, Saints, Saints, Panthers
Losses: Packers, Patriots, Panthers, Seahawks, Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 10-6
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of the great young teams in the NFL. With Jameis Winston at the helm, and fantastic receivers including Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, the Bucs passing game will undoubtedly be top 10 in all of football, not to mention they have a brand new TE in O.J. Howard who is expected to have a great season. There is no stopping the Buccaneers this year. They will be in the postseason this season for the first time since 2007.
Wins: Dolphins, Bears, Cardinals, Bills, Panthers, Saints, Jets, Lions, Falcons, Panthers
Losses: Vikings, Giants, Patriots, Falcons, Packers, Saints
New Orleans Saints: 9-7
The New Orleans Saints have struggled a bit since their 2010 Super Bowl victory over the Colts. As we all know, the Saints offense continues to shine, but their defensive struggles have held them back and they haven’t been able to reach their true potential. As the age of Drew Brees has people questioning how long their offense will continue to be as good as it has been, Drew has been putting up MVP numbers even as a 38 year old and there are no signs of him slowing down.
As for the defense, that has been the main struggle for the Saints. Key additions such as LBs A.J. Klein, and Manti Te’o, along with CB Marshon Lattimore, and a healthy DT Sheldon Rankins should help the Saints defense progress. Although they are improved, they are still not ready to compete in the NFC.
Wins: Vikings, Dolphins, Lions, Bears, Redskins, Rams, Panthers, Jets, Buccaneers
Losses: Patriots, Panthers, Packers, Buccaneers, Bills, Falcons, Falcons
Carolina Panthers: 8-8
The Carolina Panthers are another team with huge amounts of talent. On both sides of the ball, the Panthers have great weapons such as QB Cam Newton, LB Luke Keuchly, 2017 1st round pick RB Christian McCaffery, and WR Kelvin Benjamin. Seeing a team go from 6-10 to a record like 10-6 as some people are predicting seems unlikely. But it is likely that the Panthers can pick up 2 or so more wins than last season, and make the progression back to the playoffs.
Wins: 49ers, Bills, Saints, Eagles, Bears, Vikings, Jets, Falcons
Losses: Patriots, Lions, Buccaneers, Dolphins, Saints, Packers, Buccaneers, Falcons
The NFC South is a tough division to predict, as are all of the other divisions. We could be right on, or we could be far off. There are 2 things you cannot predict in football and those are injuries and turnovers. If teams stay healthy, there is no telling where they can go.