Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Deciding the QB Jameis Winston experiment would not equate to playoff success, Tampa Bay let the former FSU star walk during the 2020 NFL offseason as he signed with New Orleans. The decision was fairly simple after the Bucs managed to secure Tom Brady. Loaded with weapons, Brady tossed 40 TD passes last year. That was his second-highest regular-season total since he racked up 50 TD passes during the ’07 season.
While Brady was a huge boost for the Bucs, his weapons were rock solid. Including four playoff games, 11 players caught at least one TD pass. Bucs’ strategy of “bend, don’t break” defense held teams to 19.1 ppg during the season-ending eight-game winning streak. The band is basically back together in Tampa Bay. They aim to be the first team to win the Super Bowl two years in a row since Brady and the 2004–05 Patriots did it.
Tampa Bay re-signed important targets like TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Antonio Brown, and DT Ndamukong Suh. In addition to this, the Bucs added RB Giovani Bernard, OLB Joe Jones, CB Antonio Hamilton. Having the last pick in the 1st round of the draft, the top prospects had already been drafted. Having said that, Tamba still managed to draft DE Joe Tryon, QB Kyle Trask, OT Robert Hainsey. To have the possibility to learn under Tom Brady must be a dream coming true for Kyle Trask. Only the future will show if Trask is the one to take over the realm after the GOAT.
New Orleans Saints
This offseason, the big news was the official retirement of longtime Saints QB and future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, who, after fifteen seasons in New Orleans and a full two decades in the NFL, has decided to hang up his cleats to spend more time with his family. Brees and his 12-4 Saints won the NFC South last season and got to the playoffs, but once again, his arm began looking questionable the deeper into the regular season and postseason the team went, and he was not able to make a return trip to the Super Bowl.
There will be a battle to start under center in New Orleans featuring the multi-talented Taysom Hill and the strong-armed but prone to picks Jameis Winston. Luckily WR Michael Thomas’s return to full health, Tre’Quan Smith’s emerging as a viable WR2, plus having Alvin Kamara as your RB will help. New Orleans needs to plug some holes left by key departures on defense. Having drafted DE Payton Turner, LB Pete Werner, CB Paulson Adebo, New Orleans acknowledged their lack of talent on defense signing DE Tanoh Kpassagnon helped even further. Lacking a true TE1 could be a problem for Saints as they lost TE Jared Cook in the off-season.
An enigma, during most of the 2020 NFL season, Atlanta (5–11) lost seven games by five or fewer points. That includes blowing leads, as seen in Super Bowl. The falcons lost after leading with 20, 16, and 17 points against Dallas, Chicago, and Tampa Bay. During the four wins, against Minnesota, Carolina, Denver, and Las Vegas, the Falcons had a fantastic 142–73 scoring. After filling in admirably for stud RB Christian McCaffrey in Carolina last year, Mike Davis is the new RB1 in Atlanta as he secured a two-year contract.
Davis arrives after a one-season experiment with RB Todd Gurley II, who is currently a free agent. He should help the Falcons improve on the 95.8 rushing yards per game they posted last year. After 10 seasons with QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta lost their long-time WR1 in Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans this off-season. Rising star Calvin Ridley is now the WR1, and Russell Gage elevates to WR2. The rebuild hits full stride, but with solid draft picks, the rebuilding is off to great success. Having secured a generation talent if not the best TE ever coming out of college in Kyle Pitts, people expect a +1000 receiving yards from this season. The Falcons also drafted a S in Richie Grant and a tackle to their offensive line in Jalen Mayfield.
Looking to snap a run of three straight losing seasons, Carolina is the overall long shot at winning the NFC South. Carolina Panthers have posted a combined 17–31 record since the quarterback carousel started turning back in 2018 with an injured Cam Newton. A one-year experiment with QB Teddy Bridgewater is over as he signed with Denver during the offseason.
It would be a huge boost if NFL´s best RB/WR player in Christian McCaffrey could play an entire season. Darnold will be reunited with WR Robby Anderson, who had 1,353 receiving yards and 11 TDs over 25 games with Darnold in New York. Having added WR David Moore and picking WR Terrace Marshall Jr., it sure seems that Sam Darnold could expect more from his receivers than what was the case in New York. In addition, drafting CB Jaycee Horn should be a big help to a defense that still needs to improve should the Carolina Panthers have any chance of winning the division against the Bucs.
Why Tampa Bay Buccaneers will win the NFC South this season
Having Brady back is a huge upside for Tamba. Brady is the kind of player that people want to play with, as seen last year. The same thing happened this off-season. Tamba having all of their starters back means that Tamba Bay Buccaneers are the clear favorite to win the NFC South this season. New Orleans Saints QB battle tells me that a playoff berth should be considered a success this season. The Bucs defensive strategy of “bend, don’t break” combined with the offensive talent will be too much in a division that lacks teams with both a solid defense and offense.
Take Tamba Bay Buccaneers at -200 as the defending Super Bowl should ease into a division title.