Brady Podloski, Frank Ammirante, Sam Schneider, Joey Ricotta | May 9th, 2020
The NFC South is arguably one of the most offensive driven divisions. As well, each offense has improved over the offseason, but the biggest addition is Tom Brady. With Brady and other quarterbacks like Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, and Teddy Bridgewater, the division has no clear winner. With the extra playoff spot open, this division could have three teams compete in the playoffs. With the 2020 schedule set, there are some significant games each NFC South team will play. With that said, this is an eight-part series where our Scorecrow NFL Analysts do an early prediction of the wins and losses of each team. We projected all 256 games and have the winners and losers of each division!
Make sure to check out the rest of our record projections here.
New Orlean Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winners of the NFC South
Brady: New Orleans Saints (11-5) | Team MVP: Michael Thomas
The Saints are the most complete team in the NFL with very few weaknesses and good depth in case of injury. In terms of defense, they can generate pressure but have an underrated secondary which forces turnovers. Moreover, the team signed Jameis Winston who will be a capable backup quarterback, but may also be the quarterback of the future if he can reduce his turnovers. The offense alone can win the Saints games, as the offensive line is in the top five and one of the most complete receiving cores. It is going to be difficult to beat the Saints, and this could be a team that gets to the Super Bowl.
Frank: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4) | Team MVP: Tom Brady
Brady joins a stacked receiving core that includes Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, and O.J. Howard. The Bucs addressed their offensive line to help keep Brady upright with the drafting of offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs. Brady’s ability to protect the football will do wonders for an improving defense that features young studs like Devin White and reigning sack leader Shaquil Barrett. The Buccaneers have an easier schedule than the Saints, facing the Rams instead of the 49ers and Giants instead of the Eagles. This puts them in a more favorable position to win the NFC South.
Sam: New Orleans Saints (11-5) | Team MVP: Alvin Kamara
Brees makes it through a full season and the Saints are headed back to the playoffs after dispatching the Buccaneers handily on division record after they both finish 11-5, though a matchup with their division rival could very well be in the offing. Kamara bounces back after an injury-riddled 2019 and nearly tops 100 catches from the backfield while Thomas is up to his old tricks and Brees looks like a kid again. The defense is inconsistent, being bested by a few surprises but New Orleans is looking as high-powered as they have in recent memory.
Joey: New Orleans Saints (11-5) | Team MVP: Cameron Jordan
Brees is nearing the end. The 41-year-old QB wants to go out with a bang, by capturing a second Super Bowl on his way out the door. Last season, Teddy Bridgewater held the fort down when Brees went down, proving that the Saints are good enough to win without him. Keep in mind, Brees still has some in the tank. They haven’t lost much this offseason other than Vonn Bell and A.J. Klein, and they replaced them with a three-time Pro Bowl safety, Malcolm Jenkins and rookie linebacker Zack Baun. They also added Emmanuel Sanders and brought back Andrus Peat. The Tom Brady led Bucs should be their biggest competition. No worries, I’ve got the Saints getting off to a hot 6-1 start and holding on the rest of the way.
Loser of the NFC South
Brady: Carolina Panthers (3-13) | Team MVP: Christian McCaffrey
The Panthers are not as bad as their record reflects, but rather they are weak in the positions that matter. The biggest weakness is the secondary which has poor starters and depth. In a division that could have 3 other quarterbacks throw for 4000 yards each, they are going to have a difficult time keeping up with teams. Moreover, Teddy Bridgewater is a placeholder for the quarterback the team drafts next year, as well they must address the lackluster cornerback group.
Frank: Carolina Panthers (4-12) | Team MVP: Christian McCaffrey
Bridgewater is a capable starting quarterback with a nice arsenal of weapons that includes Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and Curtis Samuel. However, this is a rebuilding defense that will be riddled with unproven rookies. They’re going to be involved in several shootouts this season in a rebuilding year. This does not bode well in a division that includes strong offenses like the Buccaneers, Saints, and Falcons. The Panthers also have tough games against the Chiefs, Cardinals, Packers, and Vikings. It’s going to be a long season in Carolina, but it could put them in a position to draft Trevor Lawrence next spring.
Sam: Carolina Panthers (3-13) | Team MVP: Christian McCaffrey
Despite his best efforts, McCaffrey cannot do everything. He is as consistent as ever, but Teddy Bridgewater is not doing the trick and there is virtually no downfield game. Without a solid defense to lean on, the Panthers will stumble their way to an ugly result, and ownership is now faced with the decision to draft Trevor Lawrence or deal the pick in favor of multiple upgrades through the draft.
Joey: Carolina Panthers (5-11) | Team MVP: Christian McCaffrey
A new coach, a new quarterback, but the same story as last season for the rebuilding Panthers. Not because I don’t believe they got better during the offseason, or are making strides, at least. But these things can take some time to work themselves out. It’s also the reason I don’t believe the Bucs will overtake the Saints to win the division outright. For the Panthers, McCaffrey will continue to shine. It’ll be interesting to see how much a coaching change affects his usage, if at all. Fantasy owners don’t want to hear this, but hopefully, if they fall out of contention halfway through the season, Matt Rhule will ease up on the star running back, to help preserve his career.
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