NFC SOUTH Preview: Sophomore Slump For Matt Ryan?

Garry VoltaireContributor IAugust 27, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 21: Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons drops back to pass against the St. Louis Rams during the preseason game at the Edward Jones Dome on August 21, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Falcons 12-4: Best Off-season pick up: Tony Gonzalez

This team is very dangerous, despite the loss of Roddy White; they have the guys to make up for it. The question still remains. Will Matt Ryan have a sophomore slump? In my opinion now, this guy is too big, too athletic and too talented to have one. He is due for a bigger season this year, after going out the way he did in the playoffs; I think that is going to give him an edge down the stretch. On the defensive side of the ball they are a solid group. The corner position will be the position to watch for, but I think as a group they can get threw that soft spot in the D.

Saints 8-8: Best Off-season pick up: Jabari Greer

The offense is all set, well in the passing game. The jury is still out on Reggie Bush. He needs to develop into a pure runner; he needs to learn that holes are now creases in the NFL. Pierre Thomas should take the load off for him. We'll see what happens. On the defensive side of the ball they tried to fix the holes by adding Jabari and Derrick Brooks and also drafting Malcolm Jenkins.  They need to find a way to hold that D while Charles Grant and Will Smith are suspended for four games. The Saints will be at .500 again they still have hole on that D that will haunt them down the stretch in games.

Panthers 6-10: Best Off-season pick up: N/A 21 starters returned

But even with that, I still think this team is lacking. I don't believe in Jake Delhomme, the way they played last year in the playoffs. Proved to me that he has aged and is skill is declining. They will have a running attack that will be tops in the NFL. Now on D they have questions in that secondary. The spotlight will be on Ken Lucas, Chris Gamble and Richard Marshall. The Panthers will struggle, especially on defense and in that secondary.

Buccaneers: 4-12: Best Off-season pick up: Byron Leftwich

Byron Leftwich will most likely will be the starter. That’s a plus but this team still got a lot of questions. They got a lot of youth; it will be interesting how they will perform. They got questions on D, in particular positions. Safety, Weak side Linebacker and Corner. The Bucs need a big year from Gaines Adam.  On offense they need a big year from Michael Clayton, he needs to prove himself has a capable receiver in this league. The bucs will struggle on both sides of the ball, but mostly on D, but I'm expecting a big year from Cadillac Williams, hes been hurt a lot and this is the year he needs to comeback, and comeback strong.