Wednesday, September 7, 2011

NFL 2011 Preview: NFC South

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-Digger's Daily-

2010 - Atlanta dethroned New Orleans. Tampa Bay came out of nowhere to win 10. Carolina was an embarrassment winning only two games. It'll be Atlanta vs New Orleans in 2011 with Tampa not living up to new expectations.

1 - New Orleans Saints
Offense: Big time firepower led by Drew Brees. Running game is always questionable in New Orleans pass first attack. Rookie RB Mark Ingram might change their plan if he's able to run vs NFL defenses. Darren Sproles is a speedy back and kick returner. Plenty of deep threats at WR. 400+ points well within reach.
Defense: Ball hawks get a boost with new NFL kickoff rules. Speedy defense was #4 overall last season but struggled big time vs run oriented attacks. New faces on D line and LB will certainly help correct short comings.
Prediction: 2011 version of Saints could be better than Super Bowl winning squad. 12-14 wins.

2 - Atlanta Falcons
Offense: Efficient and getting better. Threats at all positions creates one of NFL's most balanced attacks. RB Turner has scored 39 TD's in past 3 seasons. Wideouts need to make big possession plays to keep drives moving.
Defense: Young CB's getting better - it's their make or break season. Pass rush is key to helping secondary. If the D line steps up then Atlanta is a Super threat.
Prediction: Fun team to watch. 2011 could be their year. At least 11 wins.

3 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Offense: NFL's surprise unit in 2010. Can they duplicate/improve in 2011? Perhaps. 2nd year QB Freeman's 25-6 TD-INT ratio was superb. RB Blount needs to have a big season & Freeman hopes to keep blossoming.
Defense: Very young unit played well enough in 2010. They future is bright. Inexperience will set them back a step in 2011.
Prediction: Hard to imagine a 10 win repeat performance. Expecting a .500 season.

4 - Carolina Panthers
Offense: Cam Newton (Auburn) is the new man in town. Carolina's offense has been terrible in recent seasons. Newton has all the tools to quickly turn this franchise into a powerhouse. Question - can he perform vs NFL defenses? Time will tell - sooner than later. Decent offensive line, good RB's, talented ball catchers will all contribute if Newton is a quick study.
Defense: Don't get too down on this bunch. They've been plagued by recent inept offenses putting them in near impossible defensive positions - short fields and spending more time defending than offense attacking.
Prediction: Anything more than 5 wins is a positive first step.

NFC South will become one of NFL's most exciting divisions in years to come

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