Tampa Bay Buccaneers Favored in NFC South (2022)

The NFC South: A Division in Flux

The NFC South division is undergoing significant changes this season, with teams experiencing shifts in coaching staff, roster, and quarterback positions. One team that stands out as the favorite to win the division is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, mainly due to the return of the legendary Tom Brady, who seems to have found the fountain of youth in Tampa. As the Bucs are favored with -250 odds, it’s clear that their presence will be a force to be reckoned with.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Reigning Champs

Led by the masterful Tom Brady, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the reigning Super Bowl champions and are primed to continue their success this season. Brady’s exceptional performance in previous years has silenced any doubts about his ability to excel, even in his forties. While he couldn’t convince his longtime companion Rob Gronkowski to delay retirement, the Bucs have managed to assemble a deep pool of talented wide receivers and tight ends. Notably, they added the seasoned All-Pro wide receiver, Julio Jones, to their roster, further enhancing their offensive firepower.

However, it’s crucial not to underestimate the impact of Ryan Jensen’s absence due to a knee injury. Jensen is highly respected as one of the best centers in the NFL, and his absence poses challenges for the team. Additionally, the Buccaneers were already missing two key starters from the offensive line even before Jensen’s injury. Nevertheless, oddsmakers have faith in the Bucs, setting their win total at 11.5 o/u, one of the highest in the league.

New Orleans Saints: Adjusting to Life Without Brees and Payton

In the NFC South, the New Orleans Saints have been a dominant force for years, with Sean Payton leading the team both on the sidelines and as the architect of a prolific offense. However, this season marks a significant transition for the Saints as they bid farewell to both Payton and their longtime quarterback Drew Brees, who retired. The absence of these two pillars will undoubtedly have an impact on the team’s dynamics.

To replace Payton, the Saints promoted defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to head coach. Allen wasted no time in clarifying the quarterback situation, designating Taysom Hill as a tight end while giving Jameis Winston the starting role. This decision aims to avoid unnecessary controversy and maximize the team’s offensive potential. Alvin Kamara, the Saints’ versatile running back, will also play a crucial role in the team’s success. His ability to excel both on the ground and as a receiving threat makes him a valuable asset.

Oddsmakers have set the Saints’ win total at 8.0 o/u, indicating a level of skepticism surrounding their ability to maintain their previous dominance. Nonetheless, the Saints offer intriguing value as the closest competition to the Bucs in the division, with +310 odds to win the NFC South.

Carolina Panthers: Desperation, Expectations, and the Mayfield Gamble

The Carolina Panthers and head coach Matt Rhule find themselves in a precarious situation. After struggling in recent seasons, Rhule’s job is on the line, and he has placed a significant bet on quarterback Baker Mayfield to turn the team’s fortunes around. Mayfield’s task is to secure the starting job, competing against Sam Darnold, who the Panthers acquired from the New York Jets.

The Panthers’ success is further tied to the health of Christian McCaffrey, one of the league’s top dual-threat running backs when he’s fully fit. Unfortunately, injuries have plagued him in recent years, raising concerns about his ability to stay on the field consistently. If McCaffrey once again falls victim to the injury bug, the Panthers’ hopes of a successful season could be derailed.

Unsurprisingly, bookmakers have displayed a lack of confidence in the Panthers, setting their win total at a modest 6.5 o/u. With +900 odds to win the division, the Panthers face an uphill battle to secure a playoff spot, making Rhule’s position within the organization uncertain.

Atlanta Falcons: Embracing Change under Arthur Smith

The Atlanta Falcons enter a transition season as they bid farewell to longtime quarterback Matt Ryan. Under the helm of second-season head coach Arthur Smith, the Falcons are eager to establish a new era with Marcus Mariota as their starting quarterback. Smith and Mariota have prior experience together from their time with the Tennessee Titans, where Smith served as the offensive coordinator.

While the Falcons boast the versatile Cordarrelle Patterson in their backfield, their offensive roster lacks depth compared to their division rivals. Expectations for the team are tempered, with oddsmakers setting their win total at 5.0 o/u, reflecting a challenging season ahead.

Given these circumstances, the Falcons are considered extreme long shots at +3500 odds to win the NFC South. It is clear that their primary focus will be adapting to the changes in personnel and building a foundation for future success.

Conclusion

The NFC South division is undergoing significant transformations, with each team facing unique challenges and opportunities. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by the age-defying Tom Brady, are the team to beat after their Super Bowl triumph. The New Orleans Saints must adjust to the departure of Drew Brees and the absence of Sean Payton on the sidelines. The Carolina Panthers are in a make-or-break situation, relying on Baker Mayfield to lead them to success, while the Atlanta Falcons embrace change under Arthur Smith’s guidance.

As the season unfolds, football fans will witness captivating storylines, surprising performances, and unforeseen obstacles. The NFC South promises fierce competition, ultimately shaping the destiny of each team in the race for the division crown.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can the Buccaneers replicate their success from last season?

While it’s challenging for any team to repeat as Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers possess the talent, leadership, and experience needed to make a deep playoff run. Tom Brady’s mastery and the team’s offensive firepower could propel them to another successful season.

2. How will the Saints adjust to life without Drew Brees?

The absence of a legendary quarterback like Drew Brees undoubtedly creates a void in the New Orleans Saints’ offense. However, the team’s coaching staff led by Dennis Allen, along with the talents of players like Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, will strive to maintain a high level of competitiveness and offensive productivity.

3. Can Baker Mayfield lead the Panthers to success?

The success of the Carolina Panthers hinges on Baker Mayfield’s ability to surpass expectations and emerge as the team’s franchise quarterback. With the guidance of head coach Matt Rhule and the weapons at his disposal, Mayfield has the opportunity to prove his detractors wrong and revitalize the Panthers’ offense.

4. How will the Falcons fare in their transition season?

Under new leadership and with a change at the quarterback position, the Atlanta Falcons face a period of adjustment and adaptation. While the immediate future may be challenging, this transition season provides an opportunity for the team to evaluate talent, develop young players, and build a foundation for sustained success in the future.

5. Which team offers the best value in the NFC South?

While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are understandably the favorites to win the division, the New Orleans Saints could offer excellent value with their odds of +310. Despite the departure of Brees and Payton, the Saints possess a talented roster and a strong coaching staff, making them a legitimate contender in the division.

Picture of Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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