The NFL season’s most interesting division will easily be the NFC South. The NFC is usually a deeper conference compared to the AFC and this year is no exception. What’s different about the 2020 season compared to 2019 is that the NFC South will have two Super Bowl contenders instead of only one. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who haven’t done much of anything the past decade, have suddenly become a team that needs to be taken seriously.
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have both made surprising moves to the Bucs, instantly giving this team championship experience and a winning identity. Jameis Winston was a talented quarterback, but also a very careless one. Brady has the poise and wisdom needed to get the most out of his teammates, which changes the dynamic in the South. The division now features Tom Brady versus Drew Brees, arguably the best divisional quarterback matchup anywhere in the NFL, rivaled only by Jimmy Garoppolo versus Russell Wilson (Niners-Seahawks).
Let’s take a closer look at the odds from FanDuel Sportsbook. You can also check out our consensus odds to win the NFC South here.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Odds To Win NFC South: +160
The exciting thing about the Bucs beyond Brady himself is that Bruce Arians has a good track record of coaching veteran quarterbacks. He developed Ben Roethlisberger with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He improved Carson Palmer with the Arizona Cardinals. Now he can work with Brady, a pairing which has a lot of potential. What adds to the Bucs’ optimism is that Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are high-quality wide receivers. Brady will have many good targets to throw to, making the Tampa Bay offense a headache for opposing defenses. The Bucs’ secondary is still very young and vulnerable. The defense is generally a work in progress. However, if the Tampa Bay passing game clicks, this team will make a run at the Super Bowl.
New Orleans Saints
Odds To Win NFC South: -110
The Saints know the Bucs have to be taken seriously, but New Orleans is still the best team in the division. The Buccaneers had a lot of weaknesses last year and are still developing. Brady makes them better, but the Bucs might not have every question answered. The Saints have far fewer vulnerabilities. They went 13-3 last season and barely lost to the San Francisco 49ers in a game which made the difference between the first and third seeds in the NFC. The Saints still have a strong defense, including a ferocious pass rush. Their offense is balanced and therefore unpredictable. Sean Payton is one of the best offensive strategists in the NFL. New Orleans is still the division favorite.
Odds To Win NFC South: +700
The Falcons had high hopes for last season but crashed and burned in the first half of the year. The offensive line was a total mess, and the pass rush simply didn’t materialize. The team played well in December and got hot, but only after the playoffs ceased to be a possibility. This is the moment of truth for head coach Dan Quinn, who was lucky to get another season on the job. If he fails this year, he is certainly gone. It will be fascinating to see if Matt Ryan and the rest of the Falcons rally around Quinn, or if the franchise stalls and enters 2021 in search of a new head coach. Either outcome is realistic.
Odds To Win NFC South: +1400
The Panthers have a new head coach, Matt Rhule, and a new offensive coordinator, Joe Brady, who was Joe Burrow’s passing game coordinator at LSU last year on the road to a national championship (and Burrow becoming the top pick in the NFL Draft). That new coach-coordinator combination will guide new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who will get a chance to be a full-season starter after replacing Cam Newton, who went to the New England Patriots. The Panthers are – like the Falcons – a mystery team, but probably with less upside. Playing in the same division as Tom Brady and Drew Brees will be very hard for Carolina this year.
Who’ll Win The Division?
I’m going to roll with Tampa Bay here. I’m not a huge fan of laying juice with these divisional props unless it’s clear-cut and this is a two-horse race. The Bucs offense should be stellar and that should in turn help their defense, which was a terrible unit last season. This team is on the rise.
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