Ever since their appearance in Super Bowl XXXVIII, the Carolina Panthers have been the NFC South favorite/contender. But constant injuries have lead the team to underperform and only make the playoffs once since, during the 2005 season.
With the New Orleans Saints having missed the playoffs last season due to injuries and inconstancy, as well as the continually increasing injuries this season, the question should be asked if the Saints have become the Panthers?
The Saints have an explosive, high-scoring offense to the Panthers' solid, hard-hitting defense. The Saint have been favored to win the NFC South and are always talked about for a playoff appearance since their trip to the NFC title game in 2006.
The Panthers too were favored to win the NFC South and were talked about in the mix for the playoffs after making the Super Bowl in 2003.
Currently, no team has ever repeated as division champions in the NFC South since its creation in 2002. Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have come close, winning two titles in three seasons (2005 and 2007). Then there is the appalling stat of the last place team from the previous season winning the division that very next year.
Currently the Saints are last in the division at 2-3, but it is still way to early to start icing the champagne for 2009. Unfortunately for the Saints, they are always just out of reach of the playoffs and just good enough to be out of last place.
And if they are anything like the Panthers, they will continue to be in the mix but not in contention due to their constant injuries.