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2013 NFC South Preview

Matt Ryan
Getty Images

Every year, so-called experts take their shot at trying to predict who will have success in the upcoming NFL season. They’re never entertaining, and they’re almost always wrong. My philosophy is, if you’re going to be wrong, you’d better be entertaining. With that in mind, try not to take this year’s NFC South preview too seriously.

Atlanta Falcons

The Good: It’s a proven fact that the Falcons are going to have a superb regular season, as they have for the last few years. Steven Jackson (not NBA player Stephen Jackson) will help out a running game that finished 29th in the league last season, while Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White will all continue to be great. They return the bulk of a defense that was in the top ten in points allowed as well.

The Bad: This team could go 16-0 in the regular season, and there would be no reason whatsoever to believe that they could be serious contenders to win a Super Bowl. The Falcons wouldn’t even have reached the NFC Championship Game without Pete Carroll being his usual Pete Carroll self and icing Matt Bryant INTO a game winning kick. Any positives about this team are instantly negated by the fact that they are perennial choke artists.

Prediction: 13-3, lose in Divisional Playoffs

Carolina Panthers

The Good: They boast a slightly above average offense, led by the explosive yet mercurial Cam Newton. Their defense was slightly below average in the yardage and points allowed categories, which makes them practically the ’85 Bears compared to the rest of their division.

The Bad: Sad Cam Newton can come out at any time, which leads to poor play, and hilariously emotional press conferences after games. Also, they were one of four teams in the NFC to fail to win four games or more at home, presumably because owner Jerry Richardson is scaring fans away from coming to games by threatening to have his staff mug fans. That’s literally the only way he’d be able to squeeze more taxpayer dollars out of his fans, and I have no doubt he’s considered it.

Prediction: 10-6

New Orleans Saints

The Good: Sean Payton is back! Hopefully this means we won’t have to hear any more from Saints fans about the NFL being “out to get them.” Drew Brees is still an amazing quarterback, with an offense that will light up the scoreboard the same way they’ve been doing for years. Only Denver and New England scored more than they did last year.

The Bad: Only Tennessee allowed more points per game than the Saints did last year, and they didn’t exactly improve on that side of the ball to where that will change dramatically. They were one of nine teams last year to average less than 100 yards per game rushing, and that probably won’t change given their offensive strategy of “JUST KEEP THROWING, DREW.”

Prediction: 9-7

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Good: Darrelle Revis should help them to be less terrible defensively (29th in total defense last year). Doug Martin is a monster. He’s what LaGarrette Blount was supposed to be, before LaGarrette Blount got hurt all the time and faded away to just be remembered as that guy who punched a Boise State player in the face in college. Tampa Bay had a top ten offense in the league in yards, which is shocking to me for some reason. Also good: they’re not the Rays, so more than 20 people care about them.

The Bad: Josh Freeman. He’s just so inconsistent! If I were a Buccaneers fan, I’d be really frustrated with him at this point. Also, the whole pirate ship in the stadium thing was cool in the late 1990s, but it’s not cool anymore. Get with the times, Tampa Bay.

Prediction: 7-9

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