Wednesday, September 08, 2010

2010 NFL Preview-NFC South

I skipped football prognostication last year, both because I'm lazy and terrible at prognostication, but I felt like doing it again for '10. I'll start with the teams playing on the silly Thursday game, which does little but diminish Sunday's actual opening to the season. Anyway, to the NFC South.

New Orleans Saints (12-4): The only thing that keeps the Saints from contending again for the Super Bowl is overconfidence. They've spent all kinds of time on floats during the offseason; does their celebratory mood hint at satisfaction? Excluding the loss of Darren Sharper, no doubt a significant one, they're the same team of overachieving workmen. I doubt Drew Brees will put up the same kinds of numbers he did last year, but it's hard to argue that, as a whole, they aren't the team to beat.

Atlanta Falcons (9-7): I like Matt Ryan; I think he's developed into a really good quarterback. I think Mike Smith is an excellent coach who is a lot angrier than he looks like he ever could be. I don't like that they continue forward with a number one receiver and a slew of number fours. I mostly don't like that they insist on running Michael Turner five hundred times a season. Good as he is, he's not made of stone and I think we're going to see very similar numbers to last season. Combined with a vastly overrated defense, I claim nine wins for Atlanta, but it could just as easily be seven.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8): I seem to be in the vast minority of people who believe the Bucs will go a long way toward turning it around this year, but I think a lot will depend on the improved play of QB Josh Freeman, who was thrown in much to soon, but should be much more functional. If it is as it appears, Carnell "Corvair" Williams might have some legs under him once again. If that's wrong, though, the other options aren't pretty; people named Huggins and Lumpkin do not inspire confidence. I like their defense, though, and Raheem Morris was the coach I wanted in Denver last year, so I believe in them. I've always been a fan, though, except for the Gruden days, where they made me sick.

Carolina Panthers (5-11): Matt Moore is not a real starting quarterback; not in the NFL, not in the UFL, maybe in the Arena League. If he busts, as I believe he will, they're left with Jimmy Clausen, the douchiest quarterback since Philip Rivers. I hope for the best for Jonathan Stewart and, barring his ridiculous foot problems, I think he's one of the best young running backs in the league, but the team surrounding him is not very good. Their talented players are ancient and people are going to realize that Jake Delhomme wasn't the only problem in Cackalacky. People rave about their defense but, aside from John Beason, I see spares. Mostly, though, nothing good comes from Matt Moore at QB...nothing.

NFC North tomorrow, since they're playing.