There has been plenty of upheaval in the NFC South ahead of the upcoming season but there is one constant that has been in the NFL since 2000, that being none other than Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.
Seven-time Super Bowl champion Brady will lead Tampa for the third straight season, having reversed his retirement decision after just 40 days of making the announcement, but there will be a new head coach in charge with Todd Bowles replacing Bruce Arians.
The New Orleans Saints will also have a new man at the helm, having moved Sean Payton aside for Dennis Allen, while the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons look set to have new QBs in what has been an off-season of upheaval in the NFC South.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1/3 – NFC South Winner)
It looked like the NFL had seen the final days of Brady after he initially decided to retire following the Divisional play-off defeat to the Los Angeles Rams last season, but the GOAT has backtracked on that decision and will be aiming for an eighth Super Bowl ring.
The 45-year-old continues to defy his age and suggestions that his standards will drop this season seem foolish, given the fact he threw for a career-high 5,316 yards last year and was the NFL’s passing yards leader in the regular campaign for the fourth time in his career.
Rob Gronkowski’s retirement could prove massive, as he and Brady have linked up superbly over the years, while the status of receiver Chris Godwin, who tore his ACL last December, is another worry for the Bucs.
In terms of how the team will play, there shouldn’t be too many surprises given the fact new head coach Bowles was Tampa’s defensive coordinator for three seasons before being promoted and the 9/1 on the Buccaneers to win the Super Bowl shows how feared they are.
New Orleans Saints (7/2 – NFC South Winner)
New Orleans opted for a similar approach as Tampa Bay, as they promoted Dennis Allen from defensive coordinator to replace head coach Sean Payton, whose 15-year spell in charge has come to an end.
There are question marks over the quarterback position with Jameis Winston, who tore his ACL back in October, expected to call the shots when fit. If his fitness is an issue, former Chicago Bears QB Andy Dalton will be asked to step up.
It was a blow to the Saints when losing veteran safeties Marcus Williams to free agency and Malcolm Jenkins to retirement, but they acted quickly to bring in replacements in the shape of Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye.
A successful run to the Super Bowl this season will hinge largely on the team’s defence, which is loaded with veteran talent, but odds of 33/1 to lift the trophy suggest glory won’t be coming their way.
Carolina Panthers (10/1 – NFC South Winner)
Head coach Matt Rhule is under a degree of pressure following a couple of uninspiring seasons with the Carolina Panthers, who finished third in the NFC South in his debut campaign before then ending up fourth last year.
The 47-year-old is expected to start off with a new QB, after acquiring Baker Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns, and there are plenty of options for the latter to work with, including receivers D.J. Moore and Robbie Anderson.
Carolina (100/1 Super Bowl Outright) have appointed a new offensive coordinator, bringing in former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo, and it will be interesting to see whether he can get the Panthers firing on all cylinders.
Atlanta Falcons (25/1 – NFC South Outright)
It could prove to be a disastrous season for the Atlanta Falcons, who parted ways with QB Matt Ryan and, after failing to acquire Deshaun Watson, brought in Marcus Mariota from the Las Vegas Raiders.
Mariota does at least know head coach Arthur Smith, who was former offensive coordinator in Tennessee, but there is a lot of pressure on the new QB and it’s unclear whether he has the quality to lead the team forward.
Priced at 250/1 to win the Super Bowl, Atlanta look destined for a bleak campaign and their only focus should be on trying to win a handful of games.
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