The NFC South is dumb. Since its introduction in 2002 the department is each the paragon of parity, and an unpredictable mess. Now for the primary time within the NFC South’s historical past now we have all 4 groups rebuilding directly, turning a web page and looking for some way ahead. It’s going to make the NFC South now not most effective the league’s maximum wide-open department, however step one in what may decide the way forward for the convention’s energy for future years.

There are other levels of rebuilding, to make certain. The Falcons and Panthers are in the midst of a complete teardown and rebuild, the Saints are looking to flip a web page with Derek Carr within the hopes they are able to problem another time whilst nonetheless improving from Drew Brees’ retirement — and the Buccaneers, smartly, they’re determined to stay their championship roster able to win, however have elected handy that over to Baker Mayfield.

Let’s wreck down why all 4 of those groups may end first or final within the department, as a result of sure, issues are that bizarre within the NFC South.

Atlanta Falcons

Why the Falcons may win the department

There’s so much to love right here in the case of guns. Actually, when you have a look at their gear in isolation then Kyle Pitts, Drake London and Bijan Robinson are 3 items any crew would like to have at their disposal.

This was once a crew that went 7-10 and driven for a playoff spot a 12 months in the past, in spite of having the second one worst passing offense within the league, which controlled to achieve simply 2,699 yards in the course of the air, rating twenty seventh in air touchdowns.

The crew additionally boasts a gorgeous stout run protection, which is able to get even higher with the addition of David Onyemata. Whilst the secondary that struggled added some big-time ability in Jessie Bates III, a work at protection this crew was once sorely lacking.

Briefly: A borderline playoff crew a 12 months in the past in spite of being unhealthy in the course of the air, were given much better on each offense and protection. That places them in rivalry within the NFC South.

Why the Falcons may well be final within the department

Desmond Ridder.

Ok, transferring on. Jokes apart, the realization this crew has of their second-year quarterback may simply be what sinks this crew in 2023. Ridder was once wholly unremarkable as a four-game starter final season, the place he was once statistically high-quality on paper, however struggled to transport the ball downfield to the Falcons’ deep threats and displayed spotty ball placement on the most simple of routes.

Ridder’s 6.2 yards-per-attempt was once manner under what you need from a beginning quarterback, particularly one with guns at their disposal. That quantity will want to get much better to transport the chains and lend a hand this crew compete.

If Ridder struggles and/or the secondary doesn’t take a large step ahead then this crew might be within the cellar.

Carolina Panthers

Why the Panthers may win the department

They virtually did final 12 months, significantly. It made completely no sense, however Carolina in point of fact had an opportunity to win the NFC South up till Week 16, in spite of having an period in-between head trainer, buying and selling away Christian McCaffrey and enjoying Sam Darnold at quarterback.

The Panthers made one of the most maximum profound whole-organization enhancements within the NFL this offseason. Frank Reich is a large improve at head trainer, and he’s introduced in an all-star training group of workers to make stronger a fast rebuild. Everyone knows the crew traded up for Bryce Younger to make him their franchise QB of the long run, however past that they made some in point of fact sensible loose agent acquisitions like Adam Thielen, D.J. Chark, Hayden Hurst, and Miles Sanders to be veteran bridge gamers to stay issues secure whilst they to find extra ability.

Defensively this crew has a Best-10 move protection a 12 months in the past, and the transfer to a 3-4 will most effective get advantages Brian Burns and Derrick Brown, who go back to their herbal positions.

Why the Panthers may well be final within the department

Rookie QBs are at all times going to take their lumps, however in preseason Bryce Younger took much more than he must have because of a spotty offensive line. If that development continues it’s going to be an extended 12 months passing the ball in Charlotte.

That is compounded by way of the receiving corps, arguably the worst within the league, who’re nonetheless improving from giving up D.J. Moore within the Younger business. The problem isn’t that the gamers are inherently unhealthy, it’s that no one is superb at getting separation. It’s going to make Younger’s activity tough in 2023.

If this crew can’t give protection to their long term or get him some simple receptions then the Panthers may simply to find themselves because the worst within the NFC South.

New Orleans Saints

Why the Saints may win the department

It’s in point of fact tough to overstate what a enormous improve at quarterback Derek Carr is. Actually, one may make the argument that he’s probably the most unfairly maligned beginning QB within the NFL. Up thus far Carr has persistently been blamed as the rationale the Raiders couldn’t recover from the hump, when in fact even his “down” 2022 led to 3,500 passing yards, 24 TDs and 14 INTs.

That is simply sufficient to win with within the NFL when you don’t have a twenty eighth ranked protection, which the Raiders had a 12 months in the past.

Now Carr is within the place of being savior, taking on a 7-10 crew with a number of ability to make use of. Alvin Kamara will go back after a brief suspension so as to add to an assault with Chris Olave, whilst Rashid Shaheed confirmed flashes of promise his rookie season. If Michael Thomas can upload anything else to the assault this is able to grow to be a gorgeous unhealthy offense.

In the meantime, the Saints quietly boasted a Best 10 protection a 12 months in the past and if those components dangle it’s really easy to peer New Orleans now not simply profitable the NFC South, however doubtlessly stunning some folks within the playoffs.

Why the Saints may well be final within the department

This crew in point of fact were given pilfered in loose company because of their cap scenario, in particular at the defensive position. New Orleans begins this season with out 3 starters in David Onyemata (now in Atlanta), Shy Tuttle (now with the Panthers), and Marcus Davenport (now in Minnesota). This has ended in a large number of defensive transforming, which might simply misfire.

If the Saints are put able the place they have got to win offensive shootouts it’s unclear if they have got the guns but in an effort to dangle. It appears like they’re one or two items clear of breaking thru, and reckoning on Michael Thomas to provide a lot this season is extra hope that prayer.

There’s a major probability this tried run may fall aside and the Saints end final within the NFC South.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Why the Buccaneers may win the department

This crew has such a lot ability, in particular at the defensive aspect. This crew is aware of how one can protect the move, giving up a stingy 5.6 yards-per-attempt a 12 months in the past, whilst getting a powerful rush up the center with Vita Vea.

It’s tough to seek out any crew within the NFL with a greater team of 3-4 linebackers too, making this crew very tough for many offenses to handle. There’s a spark right here needless to say, and when paired with their implausible receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, there’s a large number of reason why to imagine this crew may win the NFC South once more.

Why the Buccaneers may well be final within the department

Baker Mayfield sucks. Like, he in point of fact, in point of fact sucks.

Tampa Bay determined to forego punting at the 12 months and seeing what they’d in Kyle Trask, as an alternative electing to start out Mayfield at this time and spot what he can deliver to the desk. Baker is a unusual have compatibility for this offense who can’t in point of fact pressure the ball downfield and stretch, whilst additionally making horrible choices.

Necessarily the Bucs are praying they get late-season Rams Mayfield, and now not the model in Carolina that sucked so unhealthy he were given everybody fired. That’s a foul plan.

If Tampa Bay end final within the NFC South it’ll be on account of quarterback play. It’s that easy.


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