Ahead of the 2022 NFL season, we’re tracking the NFC South odds to see which teams are expected to fare well in this division.
Here, we’re providing our NFC South predictions and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each team:
NFC South Betting Odds
1st TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Tampa Bay followed up their Super Bowl triumph by ending New Orleans’ four-year reign as division champions thanks to a 13-4 record and tempting Tom Brady to put off his retirement for a little longer makes them hot favourites to top the table again in our NFC South preview.
It was a surprise to see head coach Bruce Arians suddenly announce his resignation in the spring, but he will stay on in an advisory role to assist successor Todd Bowles, who had four years in charge of the Jets before joining the Bucs as defensive coordinator in 2019.
There have been some notable departures, including tight end Rob Gronkowski, offensive linemen Alex Cappa, Ali Marpet and OJ Howard, plus Ndamukong Suh and Jordan Whitehead on defence.
However, Tampa Bay appear to have addressed most of those issues during free agency and the draft, while retaining cornerback Carlton Davis was a wise move, so more of the same is all that is needed to be in the play-offs once more.
2nd NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
The Saints predictably suffered a drop-off following the retirement of franchise legend Drew Brees, slipping from 12-4 in 2020 to 9-8 last season, and now must cope with the exit of long-time head coach Sean Payton.
Promoting Dennis Allen after seven seasons as the team’s defensive coordinator should ensure some continuity, but there are some serious questions to answer, especially on offence.
Star running back Alvin Kamara has had off-field issues, top wide receiver Michael Thomas is returning from a long-term injury, the jury is still out on quarterback Jameis Winston and losing tackle Terron Armstead hurts, even if Trevor Penning was a nice draft pick there.
The departure of safeties Marcus Williams and Malcolm Jenkins has been addressed by bringing in Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye, while veteran Jarvis Landry and top draft choice Chris Olave provide fresh options at WR, but New Orleans are not quite the force of old.
3rd CAROLINA PANTHERS
Carolina have secured just five wins in each of the last three seasons and desperately need a spark from somewhere to rejuvenate this flagging franchise.
Quarterback is the key position and trading with Cleveland for Baker Mayfield sets up the prospect of a healthy competition for the starting spot between him and Sam Darnold, with that pair once going first and third overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.
To help whoever does win that battle, the O-line has been beefed up with free agents Bradley Bozeman and Austin Corbett and top draft pick Ickey Ekwonu, which could make a big difference if they click together.
Keeping RB Christian McCaffrey healthy is the other challenge, while on the defensive side of things, losing Stephen Gilmore and Haason Reddick tempers expectations of seeing too much progress.
4th ATLANTA FALCONS
The Falcons last topped the table in 2016, when going on to reach the Super Bowl, but they have not had a winning season since finishing third at 10-6 the following year.
Atlanta’s hierarchy decided it was time to move on from long-serving QB Matt Ryan but failed in a bid to land talented but controversial playmaker Deshaun Watson.
Plan B is to give Marcus Mariota another chance to shine after showing some encouraging signs at Tennessee before backing up Derek Carr in Las Vegas for the last couple of seasons.
Losing WR Russell Gage to the Bucs was a blow, especially with Calvin Ridley suspended, but early draft pick Drake London can help to fill the void, while tight end Kyle Pitts looks a potential superstar after making the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
All of that will count for nothing, though, if the defence can’t improve after managing a meagre 17 sacks last term, the lowest tally in the NFL.
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