With the Carolina Panthers as the dominant force in the NFC South, the divisional future odds are almost untouchable. However, could one of the other three teams make a move to secure themselves as the clear second best team?
Carolina Panthers (-225 NFC South, +400 NFC)
The Panthers are in a virtual tie with Seattle for the favorite in the NFC this season, and with the rest of the division going through some rebuilds, this is easily still Carolina’s division. With that in mind, they are almost a lock to get one of the two first round byes this season in the NFC, and if they go undefeated against their division, it won’t surprise me.
They get Kelvin Benjamin back this season which is going to be a huge boost to their offense that was already very good last season, and even after losing Josh Norman to free agency, the team spent three draft picks on cornerbacks, and they were able to bring back pass rusher, Charles Johnson to a reasonable deal. If Carolina loses more than three games this season, I’ll be surprised, so let's keep an eye out for possible NFL Picks here.
Atlanta Falcons (+500 NFC South, +2200 NFC)
The Falcons are probably the second best team in the NFC South right now, and after a solid offseason, they will threaten for a playoff spot if all goes well this season. I loved the moves to bring in Adrian Clayborn on defense and Alex Mack to play center, and while they gave Mohamed Sanu way too much money, this offense is once again going to be explosive.
However, Atlanta’s defense still questionable, which will likely be their undoing in the end. They are likely going to get bullied up the middle some, and in the end they are going to need to outscore teams, because they might not be able to stop them consistently.
New Orleans Saints (+600 NFC South, +3300 NFC)
New Orleans is another team that has the potential to be good, but they also gave a pass catcher way too much money this offseason in Coby Fleener. I like Fleener, but he is not worth nearly $21 million in guaranteed money over the next few seasons, and while the Saints were in need of a tight end, they are using a lot of money on Fleener.
Outside of Brandin Cooks this team is still pretty devoid of pass catchers. I did like the moves they made on defense bringing in Nick Fairley and drafting Sheldon Rankins, but they are still going to give up yards and points through the air, and with limited pass catchers for Drew Brees, it might be another poor season in New Orleans, but well watch their NFL odds.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+750 NFC South, +5000 NFC)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 6-6 last season before losing their final four games. The team apparently seemed to think that those last four losses were enough to warrant the firing of Lovie Smith. Smith had this team going in the right direction, but the team cut bait with him after just two seasons. That alone is going to set them back, but with a questionable re-signing of Doug Martin, this team is going in a lateral direction.
They had some good signings this season. They brought in Robert Ayers, Daryl Smith and Brent Grimes, but with Jameson Winston still growing as a quarterback, the team is still probably only a five or six win team. It’s going to take another year or two before they are competing for the division. Keep an eye out for their bet365 value odds.
Read Here For More NFL Previews: Update on the NFL Divisional Future Odds For The NFC East