2023 Division Preview: NFC South

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NFC East (and Introduction)

NFC North

1. Carolina Panthers

 

The NFC South is one of the toughest divisions to predict this year. None of these teams are particularly inspiring, although you’d expect that at least one of them will exceed expectations just by chance. You could make an argument for any of them, but I’ll go with the Panthers mostly because I like Bryce Young a lot. There’s a very real chance he could be the best quarterback in the division as a rookie.

The fact that they lost D. J. Moore isn’t great, but Thielen isn’t the worst replacement in the world, and while they didn’t make any major additions besides Young they did make a number of moderate additions that could make up that difference in the aggregate (think the Tyreek Hill trade). They added safety Vonn Bell and tight end Hayden Hurst from the Bengals, and defensive lineman Shy Tuttle from the Saints. 

2. New Orleans Saints

 

A lot of people like the Saints because Derek Carr, while mediocre, is a major upgrade at quarterback over Andy Dalton. But they lost a lot of talent on the defensive line. They lost 3 starting defensive linemen in Marcus Davenport, David Onyemata, and Shy Tuttle, but other than their 1st round draft pick the replacements (Khalen Saudners and Nathan Shephard) are notably worse than the guys they lost.

I’d be tempted to drop them below the Falcons, but the -11 turnover differential suggests that there’s room for improvement just from that regressing to the mean. 

3. Atlanta Falcons

 

The Falcons are an intriguing team. Adding Jessie Bates and David Onyemata is a major boost to their defense, and they have a very highly drafted trio of young skill position players in Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and now the foolish decision to draft running back Bijan Robinson 8th overall. If those young players especially reach their potential the Falcons could be sneaky talented.

However the question remains the quarterback position. Heinicke is exciting but not more than a backup, while Ridder did well for a 3rd round pick when he played last year but is also likely not more than a backup. Now backups can still lead a team to winning seasons if the talent around them plays well (see Nick Foles), so the Falcons have some hope. But everything needs to go right for them.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

I’ve long believed that Tampa Bay Brady was overrated, but he’s still way better than the quarterback room the Buccaneers have assembled. The combo of Baker Mayfield, John Wolford, and Kyle Trask is reminiscent of some of those Chiefs teams between Dick Vermeil and Andy Reid. And as we unfortunately know, it doesn’t matter how good the rest of the team is if that’s the kind of quarterback taking snaps for you every week.

Tampa Bay is one of the top contenders in the Caleb Williams sweepstakes. 

 

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hoosierchief
06/06/2023 3:43 pm

If you were in this division you’d be rooting for your team to go .500 so you could win the division…

DenverDonkeyHater
06/06/2023 2:53 pm

Falcons and Panthers could surprise. Saints and Bucs will suck. Overall shit division.

Team Player
Reply to  Tony Sommer
06/06/2023 3:04 pm

Falcons are going to get screwed by winning a bad division making it even longer before they can get a real qb.

Steel may sharpen steel, but crap causes crap, too

DenverDonkeyHater
Reply to  Tony Sommer
06/06/2023 9:21 pm

I mean we’ve seen the good and mostly bad of carr. He’s his best chucking up the ball and crossing his fingers for a PI. That’s not a good qb. Is he better than the red rocket? Yeah, but it’s not that much different.

upamtn
06/06/2023 1:34 pm

not much of an argument: all 4 of these teams are “average or below” (at best) … one of them has to win the division (by default if nothing else) … more than likely the team that implodes the least

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