The worst division in the NFL a year ago was the NFC South where no team finished with a winning record. The Carolina Panthers won the division for the second straight season but they did so with a 7-8-1 record. Sportsbooks think it will be a three-team race in 2015 as the Panthers, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints are all listed with odds of about 2-1. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the longshot at odds of 9-1. Let’s look at all four teams, 2015 NFC South NFL odds and 2015 NFC South predictions.
Odds to Win NFC South
Atlanta Falcons 9-5
New Orleans Saints 2-1
Carolina Panthers 2-1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-1
The Falcons have a new head coach in Dan Quinn who is expected to immediately improve one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Quinn inherits a good offense led by quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones so if he can work some magic with the defense it could be a very good season for Atlanta. The Falcons took linebacker Vic Beasley in the first round of the NFL Draft and he should make an immediate impact. Oddsmakers definitely know what they are doing as the Falcons should be vastly improved in 2015 and win the NFC South.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints still have quarterback Drew Brees but they do not have tight end Jimmy Graham who is now in Seattle. It will be up to Brees to find a new favorite target this season and it could be that Brandin Cooks emerges as his top receiver. The offense is usually not the problem for the Saints as they score enough points but they can’t stop anyone. Overrated defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is still with the Saints and that means the defense is going to struggle again in 2015.
The Panthers suffered a big loss as wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was lost for the season due to a torn ACL. The Panthers had a pedestrian offense before Benjamin got hurt and now it will be even worse. The defense is going to have to play a lot better than they did a year ago if the Panthers are to contend because quarterback Cam Newton is not good enough to win games on his own. He has seen his passing yards go down in each of his four seasons in the NFL and his rushing yards have gone down in every year since 2012.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs have a new starting quarterback in rookie Jameis Winston and if he plays well the Bucs should be improved. Whether or not they can contend will depend upon getting more out of the running game and getting the defense to start making plays. Head coach Lovie Smith is known as a defensive coach but so far he has done little to improve the Bucs defense.
2015 Regular Season Win Totals NFL Picks by BTB
Atlanta Falcons 8.5 under -140
New Orleans Saints 8.5 over -120
Carolina Panthers 8.5 under -145
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6 under -130
2015 NFC South Picks
- Atlanta Falcons
- New Orleans Saints
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Carolina Panthers