NFC South Preview
There is a ton of talent in the NFC South, but there are big questions about each of these teams. We will explore the questions and try to provide some answers in the previews below. I’ll share some lines I like and general thoughts, but keep in mind these are not the picks of BTB or BTBJesse (who had an unreal 16-0 stretch last year). For those picks and futures, you need to click Buy Packages above and sign up to be part of the team.
New Orleans Saints
Last year: 12-4, first in division
Gone is Drew Brees. How do the Saints respond without their on and off the field leader? That’s their biggest question going into this season. Luckily for them, they had a bit of experience of their new normal with Taysom Hill at the helm last year. This year, their depth chart shows Jameis Winston as their starting QB. I can’t imagine they use him the entire season. Speaking of not being used the entire season, Michael Thomas will miss a few games to start the season and that definitely makes things complicated for the passing game. I think stud running back Alvin Kamara is once again going to be the focal point of the offense. The Saints are listed at a win total of 9 games, and I’m not touching it. I think there is too much uncertainty to know one way or another how this will go. I will put a little on Kamara being Offensive Player of the Year at +1600 though.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last year: 11-5, second in division, Super Bowl Champions
Tom Brady is the best quarterback to ever do it, and the Buccaneers are the first team to ever win the Super Bowl in their own stadium and bring back all of their starters from the winning year. The question that falls on them is… will there be a Super Bowl hangover? For Brady their really shouldn’t be much of one. He has made it to the Super Bowl in back-to-back years before so the concern might not be there. The defense was amazing though, and that doesn’t always last year-to-year. The Bucs have a win total of 12 for the season. That basically means they get one extra game from last year as they were trying to figure things out on the road to an 11-5 season to win. They lost a game against the Bears that they played terribly. They lost two games to the Saints that were really bad, and shouldn’t happen again this year. 12 seems like the total they hit, but I’d lean towards the over rather than the under.
Last year: 5-11, third in division
They have arguably the most useful running back in football in Christian McCaffrey, and their big question is does he become too distracted with inarguably the most beautiful girlfriend in football, Olivia Culpo? Sorry, that isn’t the question, just wanted to give you a chance to something else as you digest this long article. Anyway…….. McCaffrey hopes to play a full season and keep the Panthers in games, but they will need much more than a fantasy football star to translate to a successful campaign. They traded for Sam Darnold from the Jets and the question is if Darnold can lead the Panthers now that he is out of New York, or is he not good enough to carry a football team? He certainly has more talent around him than before. They have a win total of 7.5 games. I just don’t see them getting there. I’m happy to play the under on this. One player prop on Darnold… he is +750 to throw the most interceptions this season. He will probably have more opportunity to pass than most so I think it is a fair value.
Last year: 4-12, last in the division
Matt Ryan is at the end of his career. This may be the last ride for him before the Falcons draft or sign a quarterback of the future. Luckily, he still has some weapons that can make his team competitive. First round draft-pick Kyle Pitts is an absolute monster who, in my opinion, has the ability to put up numbers close to what Julio Jones did – now, I say that because Julio was always injured. I don’t think he can pace a healthy Jones. On the other hand, expect Calvin Ridley to be peppered with passes all game. They also have a win total of 7.5 games. They had some really strange losses last season, so they are probably better than the 4 win record, but I don’t have faith in this either way. I’m going to avoid it, but if I was forced, I’d lean under. I would put a little sprinkle on Pitts to be Offensive Rookie of the Year if you want a Falcons bet. If Lawrence doesn’t play (not likely), or gets injured, Pitts is probably the next safest choice to win the award.
- David Troy
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