NFC South Division Preview and Prediction

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NFC South Division Preview and Prediction
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The NFC South was one of the least competitive divisions during the 2012 season, despite the amount of talent present.

The Atlanta Falcons won the division by six games with a 13-3 record and were the class of the conference. After the Falcons, it was a three-way tie for second, with the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers finishing the year at a mediocre 7-9.

This year won't be as easy for Atlanta.

New Orleans will have head coach Sean Payton back on the field, and Rob Ryan will certainly improve a defense that broke the NFL record for yards allowed. Cam Newton should bounce back from his sophomore slump, and Carolina's young defense could culminate into one of the better units in the division and the league.

Tampa Bay has revamped its secondary, which now hinges on the knee of Darrelle Revis.

Are the Falcons still the team to beat? Will Steven Jackson give the dirty birds another asset in the running game? Can Carolina take the next step from being a young, talented team to winners? Can Revis Bay exile receivers similarly to Revis Island? Will Sean Payton's presence and play calling spring the Saints back into the postseason?

All of these questions, and more, will be answered in my NFC South preview.


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