The NFC South has been won by the New Orleans Saints for the last four campaigns, but the 2021 campaign should be very different.
That is not to say that the Saints cannot sit on their throne for another season, but veteran quarterback Drew Brees is now retired, and for the first time since 2006, the Saints do not have a marquee QB.
With the Saints now at a crossroads, reigning Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the chance to win the NFC South for the first time since 2007, while Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons will be doing all they can to upset the apple cart.
Brady to Captain the Buccs to Glory
The Buccaneers made a slow start last season under coach Bruce Arians, but they soon found their rhythm towards the business end of the season, with Tom Brady winning his seventh Super Bowl ring.
Tight-end Rob Gronkowski has decided to play on alongside his close friend Brady, while Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown are all still possible targets for the future Hall-Of-Famer. In defence, they are just as talented, and they should be a tough nut to crack this season.
Saints can Still Compete in 2021
Brees’ departure means the Saints need a new talisman under centre, but they have two options that look ready to go this season.
While Brees is now going to be watching the games from the commentary box, Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill are now set to fight it out for the number one QB spot.
Running back Alvin Kamara hasn’t lost any of his ability, while wide receiver Michael Thomas is back from injury. If the Saints can find a suitable QB, then expect them to compete for a spot in the playoffs while they offer good value to win the NFC South at
Questions Need to be Answered by Darnold
The Carolina Panthers are
9/1 to win the NFC South, and it would take a very optimistic fan to back them to come good.
The Panthers have struggled to find a replacement for Cam Newton, but they have pinned their hopes on Sam Darnold following his release from the New York Jets.
Darnold’s career went backwards in New York, but Carolina will be hoping the third pick in the 2018 NFL Draft can get down to business straight away.
Darnold does have Christian McCaffrey at his disposal, but that’s about it, but he will team up with former Jets wideout Robby Anderson.
The offensive line shouldn’t give him too much help, though, and on defence, they are expecting an awful lot from No.8 pick Jaycee Horn.
With so many question marks surrounding the Panthers, it is hard to back them with much conviction, but they will be doing all they can to silence the doubters.
Falcons Focusing on the Future
The Falcons are also
9/1 to win the NFC South, and it is easy to see why. Quarterback Matt Ryan didn’t retire in the off-season, but his best days look to be behind him.
His main target, Julio Jones, was drafted to the Tennessee Titans as the Falcons secured picks for the 2022 and 2023 drafts.
It is pretty clear that the Falcons are looking to the future, but they do still have Calvin Ridley in their wide receiver ranks.
Tight end Kyle Pitts was drafted and is set to become a star in the NFL, but again the Falcons will need to wait for him to mature.
Defensively they look weak and vulnerable, and the Falcons might be playing for the best picks in the 2022 NFL Draft at this rate.
*All odds correct at time of writing.