In a division with no clear playoff teams, who wins the NFC South? It comes down to a rookie and sophomore in Carolina and Atlanta respectively. Battle!
Prepare for the intense sports debate that only sibling rivalry can conjure. Seesaw Sports, where Dan Salem and Todd Salem throw down on the NFL, MLB, NBA and more. Only on BuzzChomp. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate sports.
Continuing the trend of the NFC seeming like the inferior conference, we have reached the NFC South discussion. Last year, all four South teams finished under .500. They also managed to all finish within a game of each other, which was wild. The division-winner Tampa Bay Buccaneers actually had the worst point differential in the division.
More BuzzChomp: Celebrate 10 Years Of BuzzChomp With Us!
This year should see more of the same in some respects. None of these four teams is good; any of the four could finish in any position if we’re being honest. However, unlike last year, we could have at least one, maybe more, truly terrible teams coming out of the South. The favorite is New Orleans, followed very closely by Atlanta and Carolina, in that order. Bringing up the rear, after losing Tom Brady and turning to essentially no one to play quarterback, are the aforementioned Buccaneers. Who actually wins the NFC South? Has a favorite emerged?
Who Wins The NFC South?
Todd Salem: Falcons Rise To Top
As stated, any finish wouldn’t be all that surprising after last year and the win total projections coming in, but I give the early edge to the Falcons. I like Atlanta to win this division.
For starters, the Falcons should have an identity and a strength to lean on; namely, their offensive run game. A three-headed running back attack behind one of the premiere run-blocking lines in the league should result in a lot of production. It’s also easy to love their young pass-catchers. Of course, the ceiling of this team will come down to what Desmond Ridder is able to do. It might not be much, but I don’t think it will take much to win the South.
More BuzzChomp: Tim Burton’s Top 5 Movies Of All Time
I like Carolina to finish second. A rookie quarterback is an unknown. A lot of the rest of this roster is not. Veteran skill players litter the offense; the line could be solid; and the defense has a number of blue chip-caliber players. Compare that to New Orleans. The Saints obviously have the leg up at quarterback unless Bryce Young is a revelation. But everywhere else? The skill players are Chris Olave and pray for a short Alvin Kamara suspension. The o-line is not a good unit. The defense is aging fast.
The Panthers obviously believe in Young being playable right from the start. They invested in the short term ability of the roster around him. And if we’re being honest, the biggest hit against him pre-draft was his small stature and how he will hold up over the long haul rigors of the NFL. That actually doesn’t impact his success in year one. He has a lot to learn, but he could be solid pretty quickly.
Also on BuzzChomp: Nothing Goes To Plan in AFC North
Bringing up the rear, as projected, is Tampa Bay. The Bucs gave up at QB, presumably in preparation for the 2024 draft. That doesn’t bode well for their 2023 success. The offensive line and defense are probably league-average with upside. That’s all well and good but, again, the team is prepping for the following season. It doesn’t help that Tampa Bay has the hardest schedule in the division by a healthy margin.
Maybe you’ll tell me I’m reading too much into one decision. After all, it’s quite possible that Baker Mayfield actually performs better than either Ridder or Young this season thanks to their inexperience. But Ridder and Young indicate a front office with a plan. Mayfield indicates no plan or a plan to wait a year. That has to factor into how they expect the team to perform.
3) New Orleans
4) Tampa Bay
Dan Salem: Panthers Grab The Title
It would be foolish to completely underestimate Baker Mayfield, especially with some top tier wide receivers to throw to, but he isn’t the reason Tampa Bay is finishing last. The Buccaneers are resetting and that means it’s advantageous to lose. Heck, everyone expects a bad year after Tom Brady just retired, so why exceed expectations? It’s not like they are going to win anything in the playoffs, so they will bottom out instead.
The remainder of the NFC South is a bit of an enigma. I thought the Falcons would be better last year, even with a rookie quarterback, but they were average at best. Therefore, I have a hard time believing they will be much improved, even with a new running back weapon. The team that has the most complete package and highest ceiling is Carolina. The Panthers win the division with a balanced offense and surprisingly dominant defense.
Also on BuzzChomp: Fantasy Baseball Is Too Damn Hard, But I Love It
Last but not least are the Saints, who I’ve got in second place. New Orleans has rarely been bad in recent memory and this isn’t the season. They won’t be good, but no one in the NFC South will be good enough to compete in the playoffs beyond the wildcard round. I view the Saints as resetting a bit smoother than Tampa Bay, while also struggling a bit less than Atlanta. Congrats on your “win.”
As you so aptly put it, it would not surprise me to find any of these four teams in first or last place come season’s end. The young quarterbacks may struggle, while the veterans overachieve. Or perhaps the opposite is true! There’s no denying that this division is likely the only one without an obvious playoff team in its mix. I’m banking on the Panthers to come out on top, but it’s nothing to brag about.
2) New Orleans
4) Tampa Bay
Meet our Writers:
Dan Salem is Lead Editor, Writer, and Co-owner of BuzzChomp. He’s a published author, as well as an award winning Actor, Director and Producer. Visit M Square Productions for his film work, or get lost in his old-school comedy on Pillow Talk TV. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Todd Salem is a Staff Writer and Contributing Editor at BuzzChomp. He’s also a fantasy football and fantasy baseball Staff Writer for RotoBaller. Follow him on Twitter or comment below for his unfiltered opinions.
BuzzChomp is an affiliate for products and services recommended herein. Please read our Full Disclaimer for further information on affiliate programs and opportunities.