NFC South Odds Outlook
June 18, 2018
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2018 NFC South Division Odds
One of the toughest divisions in the NFL is the NFC South, as three teams made the playoffs last season. Those three teams, the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers are expected to battle once again for the division title in 2018, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are longshots. The Falcons are listed as the favorite to win the division at odds of +140.
Let’s look at the division and NFC South predictions.
Odds to Win NFC South - per BetDSI
Atlanta Falcons +140
New Orleans Saints +195
Carolina Panthers +240
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +835
The Falcons made the playoffs last season, which in some respects can be considered a success, as they were the only NFC team from the 2016 playoffs to make it in 2017. The problem for Atlanta is that they were coming off a season in which they should have won the Super Bowl, so anything less than a title would be considered a disappointment. The Falcons did get past the Rams in the Wild Card game last seasons but they were beaten 15-10 by Philadelphia in the divisional round.
The Atlanta offense under new coordinator Steve Sarkisian was really a bust. Ryan threw for over 4,000 yards, but he was just 6th in the league and he only threw 20 TDs compared to 12 interceptions. That compares to 38 TDs and 7 interceptions in 2016. A strong case can be made that Sarkisian came in and totally messed up Atlanta’s offense. Why will it be any different in 2018? Atlanta did take Calvin Ridley in the NFL Draft, but as long as Sarkisian is running the offense it is hard to get too excited about the Falcons and they look totally overvalued at odds of +140.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints are coming off an 11-5 season that was good enough for them to win the division. They improved on defense, as they went from last to 17th and the offense was very balanced with Drew Brees throwing it and Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara running it. It should be noted that Ingram will miss the first four games of the 2018 season due to suspension. The Saints will just rely more heavily on Kamara and that is not bad news, as Kamara was a game breaker last season, becoming the first New Orleans player to rush for more than 700 yards and also have more than 700 yards receiving.
The Panthers went 11-5 last season but they lost the tiebreaker to New Orleans and finished second in the division. They couldn’t beat New Orleans in the playoffs, losing 31-26. The Panthers still rely heavily on Cam Newton to lead the offense, but he is starting to get some help. The Panthers took Christian McCaffrey in last year’s draft and this year they drafted speedy receiver D.J. Moore and traded for wide receiver Torrey Smith. They also added running back C.J. Anderson. The Panthers also brought in Norv Turner as their new offensive coordinator.
The Carolina defense will look different, as coordinator Steve Wilks left to take the head job at Arizona. Former line coach Eric Washington takes over and he will have to hope that All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly stays healthy. It should be noted that linebacker Thomas Davis will miss the first four games of this season due to suspension.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs missed the playoffs for the 10th straight season in 2017. The Bucs went just 5-11 last season but somehow head coach Dirk Koetter kept his job. General manager Jason Licht is now on the hot seat, as he is putting his job on the line by keeping Koetter. The Bucs need quarterback Jameis Winston to stay healthy and avoid mistakes. He missed three games last season due to injury but he still threw for over 3,500 yards and he had 19 TDs.
Winston definitely needs some help in the backfield, as Tampa was awful running the ball last season. They let Doug Martin go to the Raiders and drafted Ronald Jones out of USC in the second round. The Bucs were terrible last season on defense, as they ranked last in the league under coordinator Mike Smith. Tampa traded for Jason Pierre-Paul and signed free agents Vinny Curry and Mitch Unrein. The Bucs also look to have fixed their kicking problem as they signed Chandler Catanzaro from the Jets.
2018 NFC South Predictions
The Falcons are totally overvalued as the favorite in this division, while the value is on Carolina. The Panthers should be improved on offense with Turner as coordinator and they have proven in the past they are capable of winning this division. We’ll take Carolina to just get past New Orleans and win the NFC South in 2018.
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