The Sportmeisters NFL Season Preview: NFC South

The SportmeistersAnalyst ISeptember 3, 2009

ATLANTA - AUGUST 29:  Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons throws a pass during the game against the San Diego Chargers at the Georgia Dome on August 29, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  The Falcons beat the Chargers 27-24.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

By Derek and Ryan of The Sportmeisters

With the NFL season fast approaching, Sportmeisters Derek and Ryan break out the crystal ball and forsee the future of all 32 NFL teams. Today, Derek and Ryan look at the NFC South and discuss how they got to their respective decisions. What follows is a transcript of that discussion.



  • New Orleans Saints: 12-4
  • Atlanta Falcons: 8-8
  • Carolina Panthers: 8-8
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3-13

Ryan: Derek, we’re in agreeance in order of finish, but despite all four teams having BRUTAL schedules this year, I’m seeing a bit more success.

Derek: Ryan, The NFC South won’t be as competitive as people think this year. New Orleans will run away with the division.

Ryan: We both like the Saints, myself a little more, as I only have a loss to Atlanta and a loss to Carolina preventing this high-octane offense and rejuvenated defense from running the table.

Derek: We are agreeing, as I have them losing to Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Carolina, and the Giants. Surprisingly, we both expect them to beat New England in what should be an extremely close game.

Ryan: 14-2 is where I see them at the best possible record. They could slip up here and there, and end up at 12-4 like you've predicted, but they better watch with Atlanta on their tails.

Derek: Atlanta had a Cinderella season last year with then Rookie QB Matt Ryan at the helm and a new Head Coach, but that ride will come to an end this year.

Ryan: In the entire history of the Atlanta Falcons, they have not posted back-to-back winning seasons. That ends this season. They’ll split the season series with New Orleans and Carolina, and even with losses to quality teams like New England, they’ll still gain a wild card spot. Now, if they take down New Orleans twice, they’ll take the division.

Derek: Even with wins vs. Miami, Carolina, San Francisco, Washington, Tampa Bay, Buffalo, New York Jets, and New Orleans, Atlanta is on the outside looking in.

Ryan: We both feel Carolina finishes third, but there is a one game difference between our record, and even with that, John Fox could be job hunting after this season.

Derek: Ryan, Carolina is a lot like Atlanta. They had a great year last year but will not have the same success this year.

Ryan: Derek, we have one discrepancy, and of course, it involves our New York Giants. You have a loss, I have a win, and that makes all the difference between a winning season and a losing season.

Derek: No matter, I agree, John Fox is out of a job. Finally, let’s move on to Tampa Bay. Talk about a rebuilding year: With a new Head Coach coming in and the release of a few of the veteran locker room leaders, they will be at the bottom of the division and maybe even the NFL.

Ryan: I feel victories against Atlanta and Carolina are strong possibilities, but I really can’t see much else. This team is trying to regain an identity after firing John Gruden, but with first-round pick Josh Freeman buried on the bench (not what you expect from a first-rounder), where do you go with this team?

Derek: Their first-rounder will get plenty of playing time the following season, as a 3-13 record will guarantee them a good draft pick.

Ryan: Too bad they can’t trade down for a few more victories in the NFC South.