All signs point to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers running away with the NFC South this year. That’s as long as the Bucs can stay healthy. This team is loaded. New Orleans, meanwhile, returns a lot of talent, but lost Michael Thomas to an injury and Drew Brees to retirement. The Panthers are a young team that likely needs more time. Atlanta lost Julio Jones and adds explosive rookie Kyle Pitts, but lacks the pieces on defense. So, how do these offseason headlines impact my 2021 NFC South Season Predictions?
A new NFL season means a few renewed traditions at The Wife Hates Sports. First and foremost, it’s THE WIFE releasing an ultra-heavy dose of eye rolls, as she knows the next chunk of months will see the weekends swallowed up by football (both college and pro). Secondly, it’s time for KP’s NFL season predictions, specifically piggybacking off the SportsChump and his annual Over/Under Contest, where you predict the upcoming regular season win totals of NFL teams (by confidence).
Only, this year will feature something new. While I will – and did – complete my top ten over/under win total bets for the 2021 season, I’ll also tackle every team’s record (by division).
Specifically, here are my 2021 NFC South Season Predictions – oh, and don’t forget that the upcoming year has been supersized to seventeen regular season games.
Team – 2021 O/U
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 12
- New Orleans Saints – 9
- Carolina Panthers – 7.5
- Atlanta Falcons – 7.5
Above features the projections from Vegas, and here are my picks for the NFC South:
2021 NFC South Season Predictions: Over/Under Win Total Bets
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – (12 wins – OVER)
The Super Bowl champs have the ageless Tom Brady, while also managing to resign all key players from last year’s team. The Bucs were 7th in total offense (384.1 ypg) and 6th in total defense (327.1 ypg allowed) last season. Honestly, the injury bug would be the only thing that could get in this team’s way. This is a stacked roster on both sides of the ball. Considering Tampa Bay only started to gel during the second half of last season, well… that’s the scariest part. Sorry Brady haters, but thirteen-plus wins and another deep playoff run seems likely.
KP’s Prediction: 14-3 | Confidence: High
New Orleans Saints – (9 wins – UNDER)
Drew Brees retired. Michael Thomas is injured and unlikely to play for quite some time. Jameis Winston is the starter and well, we know what we get with him. There will be flashes of brilliance countered by multiple picks. It’s easy to trust a Sean Payton offense, but difficult to assume teams won’t focus on shutting down Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill. With Thomas out, Tre’Quan Smith or Marquez Callaway will need to step up. Last year, the New Orleans defense was 4th in yards allowed (310.9 ypg). I like this defensive unit that features the likes of Cameron Jordan, Marcus Davenport, Demario Davis, Kwon Alexander, Malcom Jenkins, and Marshon Lattimore. Maybe I should trust the mind of Sean Payton, but I have a hard time believing in this offense. We also don’t yet know the impacts following Hurricane Ida. Without two of its top stars, I project an up-and-down year.
KP’s Prediction: 8-9 | Confidence: Medium
Carolina Panthers – (7.5 wins – UNDER)
The young, rebuilding Panthers showed some signs with its young defense last year. Cameron Erving and Pat Elflein join the offensive line, with Sam Darnold now taking over the starting QB position. Rookie Terrace Marshall Jr. has played well in the preseason and could fill the gaping hole left behind by Curtis Samuel (now in Washington). Most importantly, Christian McCaffrey returns from injury and is obviously a force. Talented rookie Chuba Hubbard backs him up. I like the coaching staff and the young talent on this roster. With that said, my gut says the Panthers are at least a year away from turning the corner. I also don’t trust Sam Darnold, although a change of scenery could really do him some good (Joe Brady could, as well).
KP’s Prediction: 6-11 | Confidence: Low
Atlanta Falcons – (7.5 wins – UNDER)
Minimal free agent signings and losing Julio Jones to Tennessee is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the Falcons. Calvin Ridley now anchors the WR core, with Russell Gage as the number two. A player like Olamide Zaccheaus could step in as the third best receiver. Rookie TE Kyle Pitts is a freak specimen that is likely to make an immediate impact on offense. Defensively, Atlanta was 29th in the league last year. The expectation is that the Falcons are going to need to win shootouts and Matt Ryan is going to need to have a monster season. I’ll be curious to see how Arthur Smith does as head coach, but overall, I don’t think this team has enough pieces to make noise in 2021.
KP’s Prediction: 5-12 | Confidence: High
Who do you have hoisting the NFC South division crown? Chime in via the comments section below and as always, thank you for visiting The Wife Hates Sports!
Recap of all Teams/Divisions for the 2021 NFL Season
- AFC East Preview
- NFC East Preview
- AFC West Preview
- NFC West Preview
- AFC North Preview
- NFC North Preview
- AFC South Preview
- NFC South Preview
- NFL Top Ten Over/Under Win Total Bets
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