Predicted order of finish:
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (16-1)
- New Orleans Saints (11-6)
- Atlanta Falcons (6-11)
- Carolina Panthers (5-10)
Usually among the most competitive and unpredictable divisions in the NFL, this is pretty much the Buccaneers‘ division to lose — and it’s not even close.
Tampa Bay brought back ALL of the players from last year’s Super Bowl run. Everyone from that defense will have an extra year under defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. They’ve added 3rd down specialist Giovanni Bernard as an additional weapon on offense.
And they still employ this dude by the name of Tom Brady.
The Saints will not be as bad without retired QB Drew Brees as everyone thinks.
Jameis Winston lit it up last night vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars, completing 9-10 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Their defense is still pretty damn good. And last I checked, they still play in the Superdome — one of the best homefield advantages in the NFL.
It’s going to be a long year in both Atlanta and Carolina.
At least the Falcons have a new weapon in rookie TE Kyle Pitts. And even though Matt Ryan is still quarterbacking the team, he’s on the downside of his career — and he has a new head coach.
As for the Panthers, I don’t know what to say to Carolina fans. They have QB Sam Darnold slinging the rock. And they still don’t have a defense that’s worth a damn. Gonna be a long-ass year in Charlotte.