Predictions NFC South
New Orleans Saints: 11-5
Reason: The New Orleans Saints are an offensive powerhouse. The addition of Jairus Byrd will help the back end of their secondary tremendously. I am still of the opinion that Drew Brees + Sean Payton = NFC South Championship. Last year was an exception to this rule. The Saints schedule is not all that tough.
Carolina Panthers: 9-7
Reason: The Panthers lost their biggest playmaker (Steve Smith). They lost their left tackle. Last season the offense was not explosive enough to win it all despite a championship caliber defense. Now the offense looks worse even if Cam Newton takes a step forwards. The Gregg Hardy suspension that is likely to be substantial hurts the defense.
Atlanta Falcons: 7-9
Reason: The Falcons secondary is of chief concern to me. The entire defense is questionable at best. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White can only do so much. The offense desperately misses Tony Gonzales. Gonzales was the “X-factor” that made the Falcons passing game scary good. I may be giving the Falcons more credit than they deserve; they have brutal stretches in this schedule.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-11
Reason: With a brutal schedule and no quarterback this is simple. Josh McCown may have talent around him. But the Bucs are not going to outscore Brees, Newton and Ryan with McCown. I could be wrong but Im not betting on this team.