The NFC South is loaded. I think it could be the best division in football.
The Falcons are coming off a season in which they were the best offense in all of football. They did a great job of returning most of their roster while grooming their young talent on defense for major improvements going into 2017. They lost Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan, but the talent they have is still intact and they should return to the postseason to defend their NFC Championship title.
The Buccaneers had a promising 2016; after winning five straight from Weeks 10-14, they were in a good position to make a playoff run. But they lost two of their last three games and were a win away from advancing to the postseason for the first time since 2007. They acquired DeSean Jackson in free agency and drafted TE OJ Howard to help Jameis Winston in his third year as quarterback. The Bucs are a hot pick to make a playoff appearance in 2017.
The Panthers had a nightmare of a season last year after a historic one in 2015; they simply couldn’t get it together last season. After drafting Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel, the offense is primed to get back on track. 2015 MVP Cam Newton is in for a big bounce back season, and the Panthers should fight for a playoff spot if things fall their way this season.
The Saints have had three straight 7-9 seasons, mostly because of their incompetent defense. They took a shot on Adrian Peterson to help balance the offense and keep their defense off the field. It’s tough to envision this team in the playoffs, but they lost a ton of close games last year. I think they’re knocking on the door and may even compete for a playoff spot in 2017.