This season, the NFC South will be nothing like it was last season when the Atlanta Falcons dominated.
With the Bounty Scandal behind the New Orleans Saints and additions made to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers, this division could be one of the most competitive in the NFL.
The Falcons remain the favorite to win the division, but one team to look out for is the New Orleans Saints. For the past four seasons, the Saints have alternated the South division title with the Falcons.
Last season New Orleans finished 7-9 and in a three way tie, six games behind the first place Falcons at 13-3. The Saints were 8-8 against the spread and on the over/under finished 10/6.
Starting this season online sportsbooks such as Bovada, topbet, betonline and sportsbook.com have the Saints at 15 to 1 to lift the Vince Lombardi trophy as Super Bowl Champions, 7 to 1 to win the NFC Championship and 15 to 1 to win the NFC South, while the win total for the Saints has been set at 9.
On offense, the Saints are a joy to watch. They have one of the two best offensive units in the NFL. With Drew Brees at quarterback, the team knows their aerial attack is one of the league’s best. Brees just continues to set new records. This season the offense should even improve, if that is possible, with the return to the sideline of Sean Payton the Saints Head Coach.
Brees is an elite quarterback, but has had to press due to his defense not being able to stop opposing offenses. If he is forced to press, he can make mistakes.
This season look for New Orleans to focus more than last season on the running game, as their rushing attack was No. 25 last season, after being No. 6 in 2011. The receiving corps to start the season is not what Brees is used to and that could work against him.
Defensively last season the Saints were horrendous. They did not play the defense they were capable of and ended up giving up more yardage during the season than any other NFL defense in the history of the NFL.
The Saints had problems stopping the most basic rushing and passing plays the entire 16-game schedule.
Things may not get good that quick. The Saints hired Rex Ryan to run the defense, which means it will now be a 3-4 base instead of 4-3. The 3-4 puts a great deal of responsibility on the linebackers and that is where the Saints have been the weakest. Without any good pass rushers in the 3-4 set, the Saints could be giving up huge chunks of yards again come September. At least they cannot get any worse, as that was what they were last season.
Even though the Saints were only 7-9 SU and 8-8 ATS, they did it with no defense to speak of and an offense that knew they needed to score nearly every time they touched the ball.
The Saints division will be tougher this season but they have three tough interdivisional games on the road against New England, Seattle and Chicago.
If I had to bet the wins total of 9.0, I would take the UNDER and I would lay money against them winning the NFC South.