Busy Signals-2018 NFC South Preview

Ab Stanley

The NFC South is the only division in football that sent three teams to the playoffs last year. The division also comes equipped with some of the better starting quarterbacks and top defenses in the NFL. These teams will have a tough time getting through the divisional part of their schedules, not to mention the non-divisional games versus the AFC North and NFC East.


 Atlanta Falcons

Record in 2017: 10-6

Key Player: Linebacker– Duke Riley

Player To Watch: Wide Receiver- Calvin Ridley

In the three seasons of the Dan Quinn era Atlanta has already made it to the Superbowl and have made back to back playoff appearances. Year four should be just as interesting with new editions all over the field. Atlanta wielded a top ten defense last year utilizing a crop of young, fast players. With All-pro linebacker Deion Jones and Safety Keanu Neal at the forefront, the defense should continue to sustain their level of success. They will need to shore up their defensive tackle position and find more of a pass rush overall. Matt Ryan and the offense has all the tools to be in the top five this season. Adding a player as talented as Calvin Ridley to of Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman and Mohamed Sanu’s skills should leave no room for double teams. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has been under heavy scrutiny for his play selection last season. If the Falcons want to continue their success the players and the coaches have to get on the same page. Prediction: 10-6


 Carolina Panthers

Record in 2017: 11-5

Key Player: Running Back- Christian McCaffrey

Player To Watch: Cornerback- Donte Jackson

Carolina had a weird year last season. Sure they were a playoff team with one of the best records but you couldn’t really identify what they were. Cam Newton and company will look to improve on their pass production which was near the bottom of the league. Carolina drafted wide receiver D.J. Moore in the first round to hopefully open up the offense. With veteran wide out Torrey Smith and youngsters Curtis Samuels and Christian McCaffery, Carolina is looking to make a big step on offense. The Panthers’ defense was stout last year versus the run but very susceptible to passing attacks. The edition of big defensive tackle Dontari Poe should keep offensive lineman busy upfront. Rookie cornerback Donte Jackson looks to help the secondary with his speed and coverage skills. Carolina will need to stop the bleeding through the air. Prediction: 9-7


 New Orleans Saints

Record in 2017: 11-5

Key Player:  Running Back- Alvin Kamara

Player To Watch: Wide Receiver- Cameron Meredith

The Saints come into the season with a win now attitude. The recent trade for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to back-up Drew Brees shows they want to sustain any success they’re having in case of injuries. New Orleans posted a top five offense last season with weapons everywhere. Running back Alvin Kamara and wide receiver Michael Thomas had break out seasons in 2017 and the offense has improved overall talent wise. The defense was less than desirable and it looks to improve on a unit that’s in the middle of the league production wise. First round pick Marcus Davenport was highly coveted by the team during the draft, but the team is still undecided on where the pass rusher will play. The Saints will have to figure out their pass defense and pass rush if they want to win the division for a second straight season. Prediction: 11-5


 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Record in 2017: 5-11

Key Player: Wide Receiver- Mike Evans

Player To Watch: Defensive End- Vinny Curry

The Buccaneers had one of the worst defenses in the NFL during the 2017 season. They will try to change that trend in 2018 with the additions of veteran Ronald Curry and first round draft pick Vita Vea to flank long time Bucs’ player Gerald McCoy. Beefing up the defensive line should stop the bleeding somewhat and it will definitely provide a boost to the linebackers and the secondary. Tampa Bay’s offense has everything you want except for leadership. Jameis Winston’s inability to grow up leaves his team with many questions going into the season. First of which is how will they get production at quarterback with Winston suspended for the first three games. Then they will have to decide if they want to extend Winston to a long term deal. The offense features wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans to make up one of the best passing attacks in the league. The team drafted Ronald Jones in second round to help out a dismal rushing attack from the past few seasons. They need to find balance as a team overall and can’t be one dimensional on either side of the ball. The offense and team will not be able to grow unless they can keep their talented signal caller on the field and out of trouble. Prediction: 6-10

Ab Stanley

Atlanta, GA

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