NFL Season Outlook: NFC South
Carolina Panthers –
Ceiling: It’s hard for me to put anyone but Carolina in this spot, at least at the beginning of the season. However, if anyone is going to have the post Superbowl hangover, it would be Carolina. That being said, I trust all of the other teams in the South way less than Carolina and the Panthers should win the division with a 12-4 record.
Floor: There’s too much talent on this team to slip too far. They could fall out of the t op of the NFC though, and may win the division with a 10-6 record instead.
Storyline: Will there be a Superbowl hangover? How long will everyone put up with Cam’s antics? Can the Panthers replicate last year’s success?
Best Game on the Schedule: The week one rematch with the Broncos is probably the trendy pick, but I don’t think the Broncos are going to be very good, so week seven against the Cardinals is my choice.
Worst Game on the Schedule: Week two against the 49ers. It’s not even fair.
2016-2017 finish: First in the South, Second Seed in the NFC Playoffs
Tampa Bay Buccaneers –
Ceiling: The Bucs are trending in the right direction, I’m just not sold on them being competitive with the upper echelon of teams yet. 8-8.
Floor: I’d venture a guess that the Bucs will hover right around .500 unless something catastrophic happens. Maybe they’ll fall to 6-10 but not much lower than that.
Storyline: It’s all about development. Will the young players grow and expand their game? Is Doug Martin worth the big contract he signed?
Best Game on the Schedule: I’m going to go with week fifteen against the Cowboys. This is one of the games where I feel the two teams are fairly evenly matched, and the Bucs don’t have a lot of that on their schedule, most likely either being clear underdogs or favorites in a lot of their games.
Worst Game on the Schedule: Week twelve against the Seahawks won’t be fun. The Bucs just aren’t there yet.
2016-2017 finish: Second in the South
Atlanta Falcons –
Ceiling: Honestly, the ceiling for this team should be the Superbowl. The problem is that the Falcons players should be better than they are. Julio Jones is one of the best receivers in the NFL, but Matt Ryan hasn’t proven to be anything close to the superstar he was supposed to be and the defense tends to just fall apart. Until I can trust the Falcons, I can’t put them at more than 6-10.
Floor: The Falcons could also easily go in the toilet. 2-14 is not out of the question.
Storyline: Can the Falcons get out of their own way and live up to their potential?
Best Game on the Schedule: If you want to see Matt Ryan throw up a bunch of yards, week fifteen against the 49ers is your best bet, but if you want to see good football, the week before against the Rams might be a more even matchup.
Worst Game on the Schedule: I can’t imagine the 49ers game will be very competitive, and unless you have Julio Jones on your fantasy team, you probably won’t even know it’s taking place that weekend.
2016-2017 finish: Third in the South
New Orleans Saints –
Ceiling: I like Drew Brees as a quarterback. I like Sean Payton as a coach. I like nothing else about the Saints. They dug themselves into this salary cap hell, but it doesn’t make me like them any more. I feel like the best they could do is maybe 5-11.
Floor: Maybe no one on the Saints is good, and Brees is getting old and can’t do it by himself anymore. Luckily, they don’t have too far to fall. 3-13 sounds about right.
Storyline: With Drew Brees as your quarterback, you should be relatively competitive, but can the other players raise their games enough to actually be able to challenge for a playoff spot?
Best Game on the Schedule: Week two against the Giants. It should be a “Madden” style game with points out the ass. It’ll be lots of fun to watch, unless you’re an old curmudgeon.
Worst Game on the Schedule: The Saints should be in all of their games, but I can see them getting blown out in a division game, maybe week eleven at Carolina, and that won’t be pretty to watch.
2016-2017 finish: Fourth in the South