Maybe the most underrated division in football the last few seasons. True, only 2 times has a Super Bowl champion ever come out of this division, but there is no weak link. The Falcons took a step last season and now must be considered among the elite teams in the NFL. The Saints will be much improved this season now with Sean Payton back and the bounty gate mess not serving as a massive distraction like last season. I like the Bucs a lot and think they would be a playoff team in the AFC, and the Panthers have the talent to be a playoff team, I just question weather or not Cam Newton can become a good leader. If he can, they’re in the hunt too.
Yes, I have them 1st over the Falcons. Maybe I just feel adventurious this season, picking a lot of teams to win divisions that most don’t. But make no mistake, this will be a HIGHLY motivated Saints team this season. I’ve always felt they’ve had the talent to be a very good defense, and now Rob Ryan will take his shot at making them a very good defense. Meanwhile the clock is now ticking on Drew Brees. 34 years old, sure he has a ring but this is the type of guy who isn’t satisfied with just one. The offense is great, the defense could be great, their head coach is back, they’ll be highly motivated, and they don’t wear as big of a target as the Falcons will.
Yes, they’ll wear a pretty big target. Not one like the 49ers or Broncos will wear, but big enough to take the division title away. This would be the 5th year in a row that the Saints and Falcons will have alternated division wins. However I do love this Falcons team, and they will be in the playoffs as a wildcard team. That offense should be even better now with Stephen Jackson replacing Michael Turner. The big question is weather or not that defense can get them to the Super Bowl. If they play the way they did in the first half of last season, it is.
Again, I really like this team. I like Greg Schiano as their head coach, I like what they have on defense, I like the talent they have surrounding Josh Freeman on offense, and I like Josh Freeman and don’t really get why so many people think he’s on the QB hot seat down there. Mike Glennon isn’t the answer, at least not anytime soon. Freeman has ALL the tools to be the type of QB that can take a team to a Super Bowl. As I said above, this would be a playoff team in the AFC, but they’ll be in tough to be that in the NFC having to face this division. However, the ingredients are there to make it happen.
The biggest difference between the Panthers and the rest of the division is that I trust Drew Brees, I trust Matt Ryan, and I even trust Josh Freeman as leaders more than I trust Cam Newton. Time to grow up here Cam. If he does, then the sky is the limit for him. Enough with the Superman BS, make a play and get your ass back to the huddle. If I’m saying that, I can only imagine what the coaches and a veteran like Steve Smith would say to him. Meanwhile that defense was quietly one of the best in football last season and I have no reason to believe that won’t continue. Luke Kuechly is ELITE, and a healthy Jon Beason would be scary. Like the Bucs, they probably are a playoff team in the AFC.
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