27 August 2008

NFC South Pick

Hi y'all -

As classes have begun gearing up and the semester is getting busier (I'm taking a lighter load than I thought I would have to, but it's still a not-inconsiderable 19 credit hours, on top of my various extracurricular commitments), I've sadly neglected this blog over the last few days. With luck, I'll be able to continue posting at least two or three times a week, with a minimum of double-digit posts each month.

Thus: a quickie post, today, before I run off to my next class.

The NFC South seems, to me, to be somewhat of a forgotten division. It doesn't get a lot of national attention, probably because its teams - the Bucs, Falcons, Panthers, and Saints - (1) aren't traditional football powers, (2) aren't in huge media markets, and (3) haven't been serious threats (with the exception of the out-of-nowhere Saints of a couple of years ago) to win or even make the Super Bowl for the past half-decade or so.

But! Look out for the division this year! The Saints (due to the additions of Jeremy Shockey and Jonathan Vilma, among others) and the Panthers (due to the healing of Jake Delhomme from a season-ending injury he suffered last year) each promise to be much improved, while the young Falcons are growing increasingly stocked with talent.

All that said - and yes, I'm going to make somewhat of a homer pick here - I'm picking Tampa (I refuse to call them Tampa Bay - that's a body of water, not a city) to win the division. They've got a solid mix of youth and veterans; they return almost their entire team from last year (with the exception of far-too-rapidly aging CB Brian Kelly) and they have a settled (or reasonably settled) running back situation coming into the season for the first time in what seems like years. It won't be as easy for the Bucs to win it this year as it was last - the rest of the division has improved - but they'll win it and, possibly, get a home playoff game.

Tampa - 11-5
New Orleans - 10-6
Carolina - 8-8
Atlanta - 6-10

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