The NFC South…This division holds the current NFC Champions, Adrian Peterson (if AP is his normal self), Mike Evans, Drew Brees, and Cam Newton. This division has produced the last two NFC Champions, and this division is up for grabs to anyone (within the division, of course). Here is how each team within the NFC South could win the division.
The Falcons almost won the Super Bowl, and looked like they were going to win for the majority of the game. The Falcons, and Dan Quinn have created a team that has a reigning MVP at quarterback, a great runner, an all pro wide receiver, and an increasingly young, and effective defense. This team is built to be a contender for seasons to come.
WHAT IS NEEDED TO WIN: Matt Ryan needs to not go back to his inconsistent self. Julio will probably get injured (most likely), so Taylor Gabriel needs to be just as effective as he was last year. Freeman needs to relive pressure off the passing game, so defenses (like the Panthers) have to spread out. Also, the Falcons Defense needs to be able to get takeaways, giving Ryan, Freeman, and Julio more opportunities to score.
The Panthers were a disappointment last season. Going from NFC Champions to worst team in the NFC South, the Panthers looked horrible. However, they may have one of the best chances on retaking the South. Newton has gotten another season to get healthier, Christian McCaffery will give a great offensive tool for Cam once, and for all. Their defense added former teammates Julius Peppers, and Captain Munnerlyn. Most importantly, the Panthers added Matt Khalil, pro bowler left tackle, and brother of Ryan Khalil (the Panthers center) to their struggling offensive line.
WHAT IS NEEDED TO WIN: The Panthers biggest issue last year was Cam Newton getting hit almost every play (okay, not exactly true, but close), and giving Cam a little time will be key to get “Superman” back in action. If the Khalil brothers hold up, and get a little help, Cam could perform a lot better than last year. McCaffery needs to NOT be a bust, and be a center piece in this offense. The defense needs to stop the pass better than last year, and keep injuries to their key pieces at a minimum (like Luke Kuechly).
New Orleans Saints
Ahh, the Saints. The team that has Drew Brees, and Sean Payton…And that’s about it. Even though that is how it may seem, the Saints have a lot of talent. They have been adding young talent on the defense, and have added vetern running back Adrian Peterson (heard of him?) to the running attack. The Saints have struggled with their defense, and balancing their offensive attack in the past. However, with new talent, and old talent (looking at you, AP) added, the Saints are starting to solve their problems.
WHAT IS NEEDED TO WIN: The Saints have Drew Brees, which will always result in a top passing offense. What is needed to win, however, is if Ingram, and Peterson can help bring defenders off the backside, which would help the whole offense. Their defense needs to play it cool. They do not need to be top 5 overall, but they just need to make offenses score slowly, so that Brees, and co. can get a lead fast, and quick (which is easy for Bree’s passing attack).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers…The usually ignored team, until recently. The Buccaneers have added Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Desean Jackson, and perhaps soon, O.J. Howard, have (or will) become a lot more popular, and have given the Bucs a couple of talented young pieces that fans are starting to pay attention to. Their defense has shown some flashes of brilliance, then sometimes flashes of failure. The Buccaneers have been focusing more on their offense, then defense as of late.
WHAT IS NEEDED TO WIN: The Buccaneers have to hurdle over a couple of other teams in this division, which is hard. The Saints will always have an amazing passing offense, the Panthers have the best linebacker, hardnose defense, while the Falcons have a great running game, and ridiculously quick defense. The Buccaneers can win by being the most consistent team, however. If they can consistently depend on a balance offense, and if their defense can not suddenly blow a game, they can win. The other teams in the division are known for being inconsistent, so what is needed is consistent play from Winston, and the defense.
Well, there are how the teams within the NFC South can win their division. And remember, fellow Sports Reactionists, be the best sports fan you can possibly be.
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