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2014 NFC South Division Preview – NFL Handicapping Odds

Handicapping The NFC South

2014 NFC South Division Preview

The unpredictable NFC South looks to be a crapshoot again in 2014 – no team has repeated as champion in this division since 2002 – bad luck for Carolina who went 12-4 last year and claimed the crown. The Saints will be better and will be looking to knock off the Panthers who again have a solid lineup – top to bottom.

So who will emerge from this wide-open division – let’s break it down.

New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints Odds to win the 2015 Super Bowl XLIX 14/1
New Orleans Saints Odds to win the 2015 NFC Conference 15/2
New Orleans Saints Odds to Win the 2014 NFC South -140

Any time that you have Drew Brees running your show, you are in good hands. Brees has topped the 5,000-yard mark in each of the past three seasons and has 46, 43 and 39 touchdowns in those three years. The Saints still have a lot to prove and are still in that elite category of NFL teams. We know that Brees, Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston will do their jobs – this team will score points – guaranteed.

The issues for the Saints have been long-standing and inexplicably difficult to fix. The Saints will go with Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram… again in New Orleans – average at best.

The defense actually rose to the top 10 in the league last year – another top 10 performance will certainly help a team that will likely be in a battle for the NFC South crown.

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The formula for success in the NFL seems to be an elite defense and a solid running game – the Saints have neither – really. Do I see the Saints making the playoffs – yes. Do I see them overtaking the Panthers in the South – no.

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons Odds to win the 2015 Super Bowl XLIX 40/1
Atlanta Falcons Odds to win the 2015 NFC Conference 22/1
Atlanta Falcons Odds to Win the 2014 NFC South +425

It’s hard to believe that a Falcons team that went 13-3 in 2012 stumbled to 4-12 last year. Most point to Julio Jones’s injury and the constant health issues of Steven Jackson but Atlanta’s real problem was the defense – a huge issue that the Falcons did nothing about in the offseason.
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A healthy Julio Jones and a hopefully solidified running game will help for sure – but the absence of Tony Gonzalez and a poor defense has me thinking this is a 9-7 team.

There are two better teams in the conference in my opinion – sorry Falcons fans!

Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers Odds to win the 2015 Super Bowl XLIX 40/1
Carolina Panthers Odds to win the 2015 NFC Conference 22/1
Carolina Panthers Odds to Win the 2014 NFC South +450

The Panthers sit below the Falcons in the eyes of Vegas – interesting for a team that ran away with the conference last year. Carolina will enter the season with one of the two or three best defenses in the league that terrorized the opposition last season. They have the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly – this unit is no joke!

The Panthers weakness is their receiving corp. Name like Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant and Tiquan Underwood scare nobody – hopes are that first-round pick Kevin Benjamin pans out or it is all going to be up to Cam Newton. Carolina still has a couple of high paid running backs – if DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart play close to their capability the Panthers should be adequate enough on offense.

Teams have proven that a stellar defense and a good, not great offense can carry you a long way – just ask the Seahawks! Translation – the Panthers at +450 in the NFC South is intriguing indeed.

Tampa Bay Bucs

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds to win the 2015 Super Bowl XLIX 66/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds to win the 2015 NFC Conference 33/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds to Win the 2014 NFC South +550

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be better than their 4-12 season of 2013 – they have to be. But that’s not saying much. It is a stretch to say that the Bucs will improve enough to compete with the Saints, the Falcons and the Panthers. New QB Josh McCown has Vincent Jackson and Tim Wright to throw the ball to and a good running game behind him. The defense is decent as well.

Expect the Bucs to be competitive but not quite good enough to make you any money this year.


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About DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.