Fantasy Gunslinger

Football with an Emphasis on Fantasy & Gambling

2018 NFC SOUTH PREVIEW & PREDICITIONS

The NFC South is arguably the most competitive division in the NFL. Last season the Saints won the division with an 11-5 record, but both wild card spots also came out of the division with the Panthers grabbing the first wild card spot with an 11-5 record while the Falcons got the sixth seed with a 10-6 mark. Atlanta even went to Los Angeles and defeated the Rams in the Wild Card round before losing at Philadelphia in the divisional round.

Things don’t stand to change much in 2018 with the Falcons and Saints leading the way. The Saints were a fluke TD away from beating the Vikings in the divisional round and the Falcons were leading the Eagles 10-9 at the half of their divisional game. If New Orleans & Atlanta had held on, we could have seen an all NFC South NFC Championship game. In fact, that possibility might be even greater this season than it was in 2017! There is no question that the Saints & Falcons are going to dominate. New Orleans got better this offseason with their acquisitions and draft. The Falcons are going to get much better offensively in Steve Sarkisian’s 2nd year as OC. I don’t think you can go wrong picking either to win the division. This might be a season where the 2nd place South team winds up winning 11-12 games!

The Panthers & Bucs also present interesting narratives. Nobody really wants to admit this about Cam Newton & Jameis Winston, but both players look like decent NFL QBs, but QBs that won’t win Super Bowls. That’s a tough spot to be in because it forces the franchises into somewhat of a QB purgatory. In Carolina’s case, the Panthers haven’t surrounded Newton with enough talent to overcome his own deficiencies. Christian McCaffrey had a great rookie season, but the defense outside of Luke Kuechly & Thomas Davis is below average at best. The O-Line is a mess as is the receiving corps. That’s a lot for Cam Newton to overcome. In Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers have done a good job this offseason upgrading multiple positions, but the Jameis Winston saga is somewhat of a disaster as his career spirals out of control. The NFL is a QB driven league and while Carolina could flirt with a playoff spot this year, I think they miss and decisions will have to be made in both Tampa & Carolina. Some very difficult questions will have to be answered because right now New Orleans & Atlanta are pulling away.

# TEAM NFC SOUTH
1 Computer Hope By some accounts the Falcons didn’t have a great season coming off a Super Bowl loss. On the other hand the team still went 10-6, beat the Rams in the playoffs & should have beaten the Eagles. I think the offense will resemble what it looked like in 2016 under Steve Sarkisian in Year 2. Calvin Ridley is an outstanding addition to the offense & the young defensive players are going to keep getting better and better. There is no noticeably weakness to this team so it’ll be up to the coaching staff to push the right buttons to keep this team motivated. Atlanta has an excellent opportunity to finish what they started in ’16 & win a Lombardi!
2 Computer Hope You can’t really go wrong picking either New Orleans or Atlanta to win the South. The Falcons play an easier schedule so I’m going with the Falcons to win the division, but the Saints are going to be right there & if they don’t win the South they’ll easily be the #5 seed in the NFC. It’s scary to think the Saints got better, but adding in guys like Ben Watson, Patrick Robinson & Marcus Davenport do just that. We all know the window is closing on Drew Brees given his age, but given how deep & talented this roster is, the Saints’ window with Brees is at least 2-3 more years. I don’t think they miss Mark Ingram either. Brees can win his 2nd Lombardi.
3 Computer Hope The Panthers are widely considered to be a potential playoff team, but I can’t see it. I get that people are in love with Cam Newton’s play making ability, but this is a QB who can’t complete 60% of his passes & throws far too many interceptions. Christian McCaffrey had a solid rookie season to be sure, but Newton will need A LOT more & the Panthers neither have a solid O-Line nor a good receiving corps. Defensively Carolina’s pass rush isn’t great and their secondary could turn into a problem. Yes Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly are great players, but they can’t make up for everything. Carolina seems like a fringe playoff team at best in 2018.
4 Computer Hope In some ways you have to like what Tampa Bay has done this offseason. They drafted Ronald Jones who could be a fantastic running back to go with an explosive receiving corps. They drafted Vita Vea to go with Gerald McCoy on the interior D-Line & went out and grabbed Jason Pierre-Paul & Vinny Curry to bolster the pass rush. The secondary is still a complete disaster, but everything else looks ready to go. Except for QB Jameis Winston. Winston is going to start the year missing games due to a suspension & Nike dropped him from sponsorship. He can’t get out of his own way & as a result he & HC Dirk Koetter are goners after ’18.
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August 4, 2018 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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