Saturday, July 29, 2006

NFC South Thoughts

And the NFC South:

Panthers 13-3
The Panthers are at this point probably my favorite to win the NFC Championship. This is a really good team. The defense will likely suffer from a number of key departures, and I wish they had a more balanced lineup. That said, their strength at the defensive line is scary. Kris Jenkins is only 26, so I expect him to rebound from back to back season ending injuries. Maake Kemoeatu was a great signing, and those two with Julius Peppers and Mike Rucker forms as impressive of a defensive line as I can recall. Keyshawn Johnson will be a nice complement to Steve Smith and DeAngelo Williams provides some much needed insurance for DeShaun Foster. This team will be strong on both sides of the ball.

Falcons 9-7
The Falcons have the potential to be even better than this, depending on how Michael Vick performs. The defense is going to be really good if the offense can take some of the pressure off it. I love the acquisition of John Abraham, added to a strong line anchored by Rod Coleman. DeAngelo Hall is already a top of the line corner, and Keith Brooking is a high quality LB as well. The offensive line will be strong, and the running game will be just fine. It’s up to Michael Vick to make use of his weapons, and I think he will have a nice season that will take off some of the pressure off of him from critics.

Buccaneers 8-8
The Bucs overachieved last year given all the problems they faced. I picked them as my surprise team, but I probably wouldn’t have if you had told me Brian Griese would be lost for the season and Michael Clayton would have less than 400 yards receiving and no touchdowns. They did well, but they still face the same problems. Chris Simms is a big question mark at QB. Joey Galloway isn’t likely to duplicate last year’s production. Cadillac Williams, while a big favorite of mine, has to prove he can stay healthy. The aging core of a once mighty defense needs to stay productive on the wrong side of 30. With all that said, I like their young players on O, and I think their defensive veterans have another year left in them. That leaves them right in the middle, although I could see them easily being much better or worse.

Saints 5-11
The Saints should be more fun with Reggie Bush, but it remains to be seen how much better they will be. The bigger acquisition this year will likely be Drew Brees, who the Chargers will regret letting go. The problem is he needs a recovery from a 34 year old Joe Horn, or the long awaited breakthrough from Donte Stallworth (never gonna happen). Otherwise, defenses can load up and crush Brees, Bush and McAllister. The defense is even more iffy, with a real dearth of talent. Add it up to a team that will provide more hope, but not all that much.


Anonymous Phil said...

I have to make the Seahawks the favorite, not only in the conference but for the Super Bowl, as they have the easiest road to the playoffs. There's no other team in that division likely to win 8 games while the Rams and especially Niners could be God-awful (like 3 wins or so). Of course, Seattle is still very good in their own right.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I love the acquisition of John Abraham, added to a strong line anchored by Rod Coleman.

Falcons fans are going to have to tell Jets fans how much they love reading "John Abraham" and "questionable" 12 times a season.

Denis Gorman

4:28 PM  
Blogger Dave Ling & Franchise said...

Tough division, the Bucs are in a dangerous position this year with no Griese. If Simms goes down, they're so f'd. But the same can be said for the Panthers and Delhomme.

Saints can't defend and their WRs are spotty so can Brees, Bush and McAllister put up enough points to outscore their opposition? Not likely this year.

The Panthers are always the pre-season prognosticator's wet dream. I like the Falcons in this division, plenty of depth and star power everywhere, and they're the only team in the division with a top level back-up QB if their #1 goes down.

8:35 AM  
Blogger 17Haze said...

I like the NFC South this year. I think the Bucs have a shot at making the playoffs though. I don't think 10 or 9 wins is out of the question. So I would flop the Falcons and Bucs and thats it. I believe the Panthers can and will be in the Super Bowl this year.

2:29 PM  

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