Handicapping NFL Futures
The NFC South is going to be interesting to watch this season. With all four teams seemingly in a dogfight to grab the division crown, it seems this may be one of the very few divisions that look to be up for grabs. With no clear favorite, it’s going to make this season a lot of fun to watch in the South.
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NFC South Overview
The Saints made some big moves this offseason that many are worried might have them scrambling. The Buccaneers are going to lean on a rookie quarterback and hope their ground game can get back to where it was 2 years ago.
Meanwhile, the Panthers lost their #1 receiver to injury and one half of their two headed monster at running back.
Why Atlanta will have the most wins in the AFC South
The Falcons got a big facelift this offseason. Gone is Mike Smith and taking his place is ex-Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. With Quinn’s arrival, so have many changes. After the loss of 13 players, the Falcons brought in 11 new players as well as keeping their first five draft picks on the 53 man roster.
Notable additions include tight end Jacob Tamme, defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and O’Brien Schofield as well outside linebackers Brooks Reed and Justin Durant. They drafted two viable starters in defensive end/outside linebacker Vic Beasley Jr. and running back Tevin Coleman.
Second at their positions were cornerback Jalen Collins, wide receiver Justin Hardy, and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett – all acquired via the draft.
Returning is the trio of quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White. While people knock White’s age, he reminded everyone last year how effective he still is with a 921 yards campaign over 14 games. Jones is in a contract year and looking to cash in after this season.
On defense, the team returns young star cornerback Desmond Trufant, linebacker Paul Worrilow, defensive end Tyson Jackson, and safety William Moore. The additions of Durant, Beasley Jr., and Schofield give Quinn a serious defense to start out with in his first year as a head coach.
While their schedule is no cakewalk, the Falcons have an easier schedule than most playoff contenders. The Colts will give them a big fight as will the NFC West teams in the Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, and Redskins.
Falcons NFC South Prediction: 10-6
The 6 division games will be tough as always for Quinn and company, but the addition of the three teams in the AFC South NOT named the Colts give the Falcons a nod above their foes.
Teams like San Francisco and Minnesota will take it the Falcons as well, putting both the offense (against San Fran) and defense (against Minnesota) to the test.
This really will be a race down to the last week of the season and will be fun to watch. The Falcons have positioned themselves a little better than most. If Julio Jones has the kind of year a young top receiver has been putting out, he will not only help put the Falcons in the playoffs, but he’ll likely earn the huge payday he wants.
The rest of the NFC South is hoping he doesn’t fill that prophecy.
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