NFC South Preview

Well, as promised, here is the NFC South. According to The Everyday Man's Sports Blog.

Atlanta Falcons

This team should be ready to rebound from last year. With a healthy Jerious Norwoood and Michael Turner, the running game should be back to normal, proving that last year was just a hiccup. At the wide receiver position, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez were the only people that produced. Yes, I called Tony Gonzalez a receiver. Check his stats. In order for the Falcons and Matt Ryan to be successful, the running game has to be the key. Another big key is whether or not another wide receiver will decide to step up. If not, then Roddy White will see double coverage all day long.

On defense, the Falcons are led by John Abraham. He is the barometer of this team. With him putting pressure on the quarterback, this will make this defense that much better. The arrival of Dunta Robinson from Houston should at least eliminate one side of the field, making a poor pass coverage team better.

On special teams, Jerious Norwood being back and healthy should give them a boost. Other than that, the Falcons special teams should be solid, but not great.

Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers enter this season as a team with no true expectations. It seems to me when little is expected of them, that's when they do the best. The running back tandem of Williams and Stewart should set the pace for the offense, as they will have a new signal caller for the first time in a while. I expect that before the season is over, Jimmy Clausen will be the starting quarterback. Who knows? He may even become the opening day starter.
And what kind of preview would this be without mentioning Steve Smith. He is and will forever be on his own at receiver. And for that, he will face double-teams all year long. But, that's nothing new for him. He has seen them all his career.

On defense, Jon Beason and Richard Marshall lead this cast. They must find a pass rush. If not, it could be a long year for the Panthers on defense. Even saying that, I still think Richard Marshall will have a Pro Bowl season this year.

On special teams, when Steve Smith is returning kicks, there is always that chance of a touchdown being scored, but other than that, no really major scares are out there for the Panthers.

New Orleans Saints

The reigning champs pretty much return all there parts. The offense will be as explosive as ever with Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush and company running and receiving the ball and Marques Colston, Devery Henderson and company receiving the ball. I see great offense again here in the NO.

On defense, the Saints were the best defense in terms of forcing turnovers. Usually, defenses don't repeat the same performance the next year and I don't expect the Saints defense to be the same as it was last year. I think the Saints defense with Darren Sharper, Johnathan Vilma and company will not get the lucky bounces like last year and they will come back to earth this year and have to play more basic defense, which isn't their strong suit.

On special teams, the Saints will be solid with Reggie Bush returning kicks, Robert Meachem returning kickoffs and with the solid punt and field goal teams they had last year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Well, the only good thing I can say about this offense is that at least they get to practice and play in warm weather. Josh Freeman will once again have to struggle to make it this year as he has no weapons to throw to. I don't think I cannot name one Top 25 receiver on this team. The offense will have to have at least a running back step up or something to even resemble an offense or move the ball.

On defense, the players are there for this defense to be effective. Ronde Barber, Jermaine Phillips, Chris Hovan and Barrett Rudd will have to exhibit their veteran leadership. Gerald McCoy should step right in and contribute right away. He is Warren Sapp reincarnated. I expect this defense to be better than expected, but with the offense, they will tire themselves as the game gets into the fourth quarter.

On special teams, the Bucs still have a decent field goal and kickoff team, but they need someone dynamic to step up for them in the return game.

Division Winner: Atlanta Falcons
Best Rookie: Gerald McCoy
Divisional MVP: Matt Ryan

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