New Orleans Saints Emerge as the Top Contender in NFC South Post-Brady Era

On September 1, 2023, the New Orleans Saints are starting the season as the front-runners in the NFC South with +105 odds, making them the favorites to win the division. This comes as no surprise, considering the NFC South is regarded as one of the weaker divisions in the NFL. The Atlanta Falcons, with +200 odds, are considered the closest competition for the Saints.

The Carolina Panthers (+500) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1000) are both in a rebuilding phase, which leaves the NFC South as a two-team race between the Saints and Falcons. Last season, there was only one game separating all four teams in the division, and the division title wasn’t decided until the final two weeks of the season. Despite having a losing record, the Buccaneers secured a home game in the playoffs and won the division title, thanks to star quarterback Tom Brady’s leadership. However, with Brady retiring, the Bucs are now entering a new era.

Each team in the NFC South has won a division title since 2015, showcasing the competitiveness of the division. The Saints had a dominant run with four consecutive division titles between 2017 and 2020. The Falcons last won the division in 2016, and the Carolina Panthers had a three-year reign as NFC champions from 2013 to 2016.

Since 2009, all four teams from the NFC South have made at least one trip to the Super Bowl. In the last 14 seasons, the division has produced two Super Bowl champions: the Saints in 2009 and the Buccaneers in 2020.

Now let’s take a closer look at each team’s prospects for the upcoming season:

New Orleans Saints:
– NFC South Odds: +105
– Super Bowl Odds: +3000
– 2022 Record: 7-10
– 2023 Win Total: 9.5 o/u

The Saints have a favorable chance of clinching the NFC South title this season, despite having a losing record in the previous two seasons. Oddsmakers have set their win total at 9.5 o/u, indicating a potentially strong performance. Their schedule appears to be relatively easier compared to other teams in the NFL, with matchups against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, and New York Giants. The addition of quarterback Derek Carr in free agency adds depth to their roster, while versatile player Taysom Hill provides flexibility in multiple positions, including quarterback. Wide receiver Chris Olave and tight end Juwan Johnson are noteworthy players to watch this season.

Atlanta Falcons:
– NFC South Odds: +200
– Super Bowl Odds: +6000
– 2022 Record: 7-10
– 2023 Win Total: 8.5 o/u

The Falcons may have a shot at winning the division title thanks to their impressive offensive line, which includes standout players like Drew Daiman, Jake Matthews, Matthew Bergeron, Chris Lindstrom, and Kaleb McGary. The team’s offensive firepower is further bolstered by the addition of quarterback Desmond Ridder, who is expected to make significant progress in his second season. Running back Bijan Robinson, their first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, is projected to excel with the support of the strong offensive line. Wide receiver Drake London and tight end Kyle Pitts add depth and talent to the team’s offensive arsenal.

Carolina Panthers:
– NFC South Odds: +500
– Super Bowl Odds: +8000
– 2022 Record: 7-10
– 2023 Win Total: 7.5 o/u

With a rookie quarterback and a new head coach in Frank Reich, the Panthers face some challenges heading into the season. However, their top draft pick, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, brings immense talent and potential to the team. The Panthers’ success will heavily rely on their offensive line, which has been a weak point in recent seasons. Wide receiver Jonathan Mingo, along with veterans Adam Thielen, DJ Chark, and Laviska Shenault, provide a solid receiving corps. The Panthers will face tough road opponents such as the Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
– NFC South Odds: +1000
– Super Bowl Odds: +10000
– 2022 Record: 8-9
– 2023 Win Total: 6.5 o/u

The Buccaneers face an uphill battle this season after bidding farewell to legendary quarterback Tom Brady. Baker Mayfield, their new starting quarterback, will need to step up and prove himself before potentially being relegated to a backup role. Wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are reliable targets, but the loss of Russell Gage to a season-ending injury leaves a void in the receiving corps. The Bucs are predicted to finish in last place in the division with a win total set at 6.5 o/u.

As the new NFL season kicks off, the NFC South promises to be an exciting division to watch. The Saints and Falcons are the likely contenders for the division title, but the Panthers and Buccaneers shouldn’t be counted out. Each team brings its own strengths and challenges, creating a competitive environment that could lead to surprising outcomes.

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