1. Carolina Panthers– For the first time in the history of the NFC South, a team has won the division title in back to back years, in the Carolina Panthers. Last year was different for Carolina. Cam Newton struggled with injuries throughout the year and they struggled to run the football due to the injuries at the position. When Jonathan Stewart got back on the field, the Panthers started to click. After drafting Kelvin Benjamin last year, the Panthers drafted another big receiver, Devin Funchess from Michigan. From a defensive outlook, when Luke Kuechly is on the field, they will be just fine. During the off-season, Carolina signed Charles Tillman which I thought was a great move because he’s a veteran guy that can mentor those younger players in that secondary that has been up and down.
2. New Orleans Saints– I’ve watched a lot of New Orleans Saints football over the years and the one thing that I took away was the inconsistent football they played in 2014. They struggled on the road as they have in earlier seasons and they lost a few games at home which is rare considering they have been one of the best home teams in the league since Drew Brees signed with the Saints. They made one of the biggest moves this off-season that none of us saw coming and that was trading Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks.
3. Atlanta Falcons– I can never figure this team out. Just a few seasons back, they were one game away from the Super Bowl. Since then, they have won only ten games. Mike Smith was fired and the Falcons hired Dan Quinn as their new head coach. This offense will handle its business as usual. When Julio Jones is healthy, Matt Ryan has his go-to guy down the field. Everything will come down to the Falcons defense this year. They have struggled to rush the passer. Hopefully, Vic Beasley can change that around and give the Falcons a guy that can get to the quarterback and when you look at the quarterbacks you have to play in this division twice a year in Cam Newton, Drew Brees and Jameis Winston, you have to apply pressure.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers– They got the guy they wanted to be the quarterback of the future and that’s Jameis Winston who I think will put together a nice career in the NFL. I truly feel that he and Mike Evans can be a tandem to watch for years to come. Tampa Bay has a lot of talent and one of the more underrated defensive linemen in the league in Gerald McCoy. This guy has such a relentless motor when it comes to getting to the quarterback. The Buccaneers will look to bounce back after a 2-14 season in 2014.
1. Panthers (10-6)
2. Saints (9-7)
3. Buccaneers (7-9)
4. Falcons (5-11)
The Carolina Panthers will win this division for the third straight season. If that defense can play how they did a few seasons back, they will dominate in games. Cam Newton got paid now it’s time to show why you did get the big bucks and now he has two big targets to get the football too in Benjamin and Funchess. They will go as far as Newton takes them.