The defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers have little competition in winning another NFC South title, and the oddsmakers peg the Bucs at -200 odds to win their first division crown since 2007.
It sounds cliche, but the Bucs are really the only team to beat in the NFC South. The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers have new quarterbacks at the helm, while the Atlanta Falcons underwent a much-needed coaching change.
The New Orleans Saints were the NFC South division champs in the previous four seasons, but now that Drew Brees retired, their reign is over.
|2021 NFC South Odds
- Tampa Bay Bucs -200
- New Orleans Saints +350
- Atlanta Falcons +900
- Carolina Panthers +900
The Bucs face a difficult battle to win back-to-back Super Bowls. Then again, if anyone can do it, it’s the GOAT, Tom Brady. Brady and the Bucs are the second-favorite on the NFL futures board over at DraftKings. You can back the Bucs at +600 odds to win Super Bowl 56, and they only trail the Kansas City Chiefs, who are at +500 odds.
The Bucs are also the consensus favorite to win the NFC Championship at +275 odds. Their biggest competition in the conference looks like the Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, and San Francisco 49ers.
The Bucs have an easy path to the division title in the lackluster NFC South. They have a potent offense led by Brady and a deep assortment of wide receivers. The Bucs defense, led by Todd Bowles, is ranked second overall this season. Even if Brady starts to show his age, the defense will keep them in games.
A weak AFC South will allow the Bucs to pad their stats and inflate their win totals, but the lack of competition could hurt them against strong non-division foes. Plus, everyone is gunning for the Super Bowl champs.
You can load up on the Bucs to win the NFC at -200 odds, but you might want to rethink the Bucs in regards to NFC championship or Super Bowl futures.
The post-Brees era in New Orleans and the NFC South has begun. Sean Payton has two really good backup quarterbacks, but not a legit starter with Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. Winston has ridiculous arm strength and can air it out, but he lacks restraint and isn’t as good a game manager as Brees. Hill is a viable option to mix things up against opposing defenses, but he’s been more valuable as Payton’s Swiss army knife, based on situational needs rather than as a traditional quarterback.
Wide receiver Michael Thomas is both disgruntled and injured, so the Saints might try to trade him sooner than later. The Saints still have Alvin Kamara, who will be the focal point of their offense because, if all else fails, just hand Kamara the rock.
The Saints opened as a home dog at +3 in Week 1 at the Superdome against the Green Bay Packers.
The Falcons tapped Arthur Smith as their new head coach. Smith revitalized Ryan Tannehill’s career after Adam Gase nearly destroyed him in Miami. The Falcons decided to pass on drafting a quarterback and gambled that Smith can conjure up two more stellar seasons from 36-year-old Matt Ryan. Next season will be Matty Ice’s final hurrah on a five-year contract worth $150 million.
The Falcons traded popular veteran Julio Jones to the Titans, and are going all-in on the tandem of Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage. The Dirty Birds also signed free-agent running back Mike Davis, who excelled as Christian McCaffrey’s injury replacement last season with the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers punted on their experiment with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. They traded Bridgewater to the Denver Broncos, and then acquired Sam Darnold in a trade with the New York Jets. Much like the Tannehill situation with the Dolphins, many teams believe that Darnold has talent, but got stuck with a terrible head coach in Adam Gase and in a flawed system on the LOL Jets. The Panthers should have McCaffrey back at 100%, and they did everything possible to prevent him from risking further injury by sitting him out of preseason games. CMAC is essential if the pesky Panthers want to be a thorn in the side of the Bucs. For now, the Panthers are the long shot on the board at +900 odds to win the NFC South.