The most unbalanced division in the NFL is home to two playoff contenders and two teams looking to cut costs. Al Dannity says we may finally see some stability in the NFC South.
An end to the madness Since the NFC South came into being in 2002, a team has gone from worst to first in six out of seven seasons. Even the only time that didn’t happen, in 2008, the Atlanta Falcons managed to rebound from a horrible 2007 to secure a wild card spot in the playoffs. During the same period no team from the division has made back-to-back playoff appearances in the post-season. The remarkably competitive nature of the division has made it tough to predict in recent years. The radical cost-cutting by the Buccaneers and Panthers means we should finally see an end to this pattern in 2010. With Atlanta and New Orleans, the defending Super Bowl champions, returning with stacked rosters this division should once again be a battle between the Falcons and the Saints.
Benefits of schedule While the AFC North should provide serious tests for the NFC South’s power teams, the pairing with the NFC West this year should work in New Orleans and Atlanta’s favor. The battle for the wild card in the NFC promises to be intense but having a relatively light schedule should aid the Saints and Falcons secure two spots for the NFC South.
The divisional schedule can’t be ignored by NFL betting fans. I fully expect Carolina to defy expectations and record one shocking victory in its four games against Atlanta and New Orleans. That aside two power teams should benefit from having the Panthers and Buccaneers on their schedule.
The final shake-up It’s going to be a rough year for the Buccaneers. This is a team with some talent but not enough to compete with New Orleans and Atlanta. That said I still like Tampa Bay to pick up one win against Carolina. Just as a like the Panthers to play above their level in some games, they are equally likely to tank in a few games they should win, and the Bucs will take advantage. The Falcons are rising and will do enough this season to make a trip to the playoffs. The real history however will be made by New Orleans by becoming the first team to win consecutive NFC South titles. Sean Payton’s team is loaded with talent and I expect another great year for New Orleans. Take the Saints at -200 with Sports Interaction to win the NFC South in 2010.