2011 NFC South Preview & Predictions
The Saints have made some nice acquisitions this off-season, bolstering their defense and replacing Reggie Bush. You can never count Drew Brees out, but I think this season will be eerily similar to last. The Saints will be one of the NFC’s top teams but will fall short within their own division as they’ll end up winning a wild-card birth.
Key Arrivals – Olin Kreutz, Aubrayo Franklin, Turk McBride, Fabian Washington, Darren Sproles, Korey Hall, Will Herring
Key Departures – Reggie Bush, Randall Gay, Stanley Arnoux, Remi Ayodele, Jonathan Goodwin, Jeremy Shockey
Prediction – 11-5/Second in NFC South
Matt Ryan and the Falcons will continue their dominance at home this season. Weapons like Michael Turner, Roddy White, and rookie Julio Jones give the Falcons a great chance to repeat as division winners. Ray Edwards is an upgrade at defensive end as well. The Falcons only concern is their young secondary, but I think they’ll be much improved in that area. I look for the Falcons to repeat as NFC South champs.
Key Arrivals – Ray Edwards
Key Departures – Jamaal Anderson, Michael Jenkins, Jerious Norwood
Prediction – 12-4/First in NFC South
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The young Buccaneers are poised to improve on their impressive and surprising 10-6 record from last season. Quarterback Josh Freeman is a future star and head coach Raheem Morris is the most under-appreciated in the league. Too bad the Bucs are in a division with two other NFC powerhouses in the Falcons and Saints, making it tough for them to capitalize on all their young talent. I think the Bucs win 10 games and fail to reach the playoffs once again.
Key Arrivals – Adrian Clayborn, Da’Quan Bowers
Key Departures – Barrett Ruud, Stylez G. White, Cadillac Williams
Prediction – 10-6/Third in NFC South
The Panthers have probably been the most affected by the shortened off-season as they try to integrate a new head coach, a rookie quarterback, and a new offense all in this condensed period of time. However, I do like the Panthers’ future. Cam Newton has all the tools to develop into a game changer and DeAngelo Williams is a franchise back. Unfortunately, this year will pose a ton of growing pains, as the inexperienced Panthers will have another poor season.
Key Arrivals – Cam Newton, Derek Anderson, Legedu Naanee, Olindo Mare, Omar Gaither, Sean Considine, Greg Olsen
Key Departures – John Kasay, Jeff King, Matt Moore, Dante Rosario
Prediction – 4-12/Last in NFC South