Category Archives: nfc south

2012 NFL Team Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The 2011 season was a forgettable one in Tampa. By the halfway point, the team looked like they lost respect for head coach Raheem Morris. They were outscored 298-140 in their last eight games.

Morris is out and new head coach Greg Schiano is left with a talented, yet lost team in 2012. He rebuilt the Rutgers football program when he was there and hopes to do the same with the Bucs. They got off to a nice start by adding some young players in key areas.

Josh Freeman looked like a future Pro Bowl quarterback in his rookie season. Can he regain that form and lead this team to a surprise playoff berth?

Here is our 2012 NFL team preview for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Continue reading

2012 NFL Team Preview: New Orleans Saints

Did you know the New Orleans Saints have some sort of bounty scandal? Please excuse me if I just found out about this, since ESPN only covers Tim Tebow news.

I’m kidding about just finding out about ‘Bountygate’, but this people aren’t talking about how this will affect the team. The media is focused on Jonathan Vilma’s appeal and what the legal ramifications are…but they are burying the lead. Their head coach and offensive guru Sean Payton is suspended for the season. Think about how your favorite team would fare without its head coach…if your a San Diego Chargers fan, your team would probably be better without Norv Turner, so this comparison doesn’t work with you.

How will ‘Bountygate’ affect the New Orleans Saints?

Here is our 2012 NFL team preview for the New Orleans Saints.

2011 Win/Loss Record: 13-3

Key Additions: DT Brodrick Bunkley, QB Luke McCown, DT Akeim Hicks, WR Nick Toon, LB Chris Chamberlain, OG Ben Grubbs, S Corey White, LB David Hawthorne, LB Curtis Lofton, CB Elbert Mack and K John Kasay.

Key Losses: LB Jonathan Vilma (suspension), WR Robert Meachem, CB Tracy Porter, DT Shaun Rogers, OG Carl Nicks, RB Patrick Cobbs, DE Jeff Charleston, LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar, DT Aubrayo Franklin, TE Troy Humphrey, OT Pat McQuistan and WR Courtney Roby.

Non-Division Schedule: AFC West and NFC East

Fantasy SleeperWR Nick Toon –  How many Saints receivers have you owned over the last three seasons? Drew Brees likes to spread it around with Lance Moore, Devery Henderson, and Marques Colston expected to catch the majority of his passes. Robert Meachem is no longer on the team and Toon is built like Colston. It is possible that they will use him in a similar capacity. .

Team Analysis: The Saints have been open by saying they will get by without head coach Sean Payton and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams this season. I would even argue that the defense will be better without Williams. They have some talented players in the secondary, but they were 30th in the league in opposing passing yards. Drew Brees will be the de factor offensive coordinator, even if someone else has the title. The Saints had a trial run without Payton calling the plays when he was out with a knee injury last season. They did well during that stretch, but going the entire season without his touch could be too much to overcome. The Saints have basically the same team minus wide receiver Robert Meachem and the suspended Jonathan Vilma. The NFC South will be better this year and the race will be heated with the Atlanta Falcons also vying for the division crown. I still think the Saints will make the playoffs, but I don’t see them making the Super Bowl without Payton.

2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 9.5 (Prediction: OVER)

2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 11-5

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2012 NFL Team Preview: Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton added the firepower needed to put a spark back in Carolina Panthers’ fans. They spent the last few years without an identity and tore through three bad quarterbacks the year before his arrival. Expectations are now at an all-time high for the franchise, but can they deliver?

Fans need to take a step back from Newton’s hype and remember they were the worst team in the NFL as recently as 2010. If they can slowly improve their team each year, they are building a foundation to be a yearly contender…but they are not there yet.

Carolina was 6-10 in 2011 and Newton won the ‘Rookie of the Year’ award. He broke a handful of rookie records and teams will now be building defensive plans to stifle him. Can he still produce with the entire team’s defensive game plan focused on only shutting him down?

Here’s our 2012 NFL team preview for the Carolina Panthers.

2011 Win/Loss Record: 6-10

Key Additions: RB Mike Tolbert, LB Luke Kuechly, WR Joe Adams, S Haruki Nakamura, S Reggie Smith, OG Mike Pollack, OG Amini Silatolu, DE Frank Alexander and LB Kenny Onatolu.

Key Losses: LB Dan Connor, WR Legedu Naanee, OG Mackenzy Bernadeau, DT DeMario Pressley and OG Geoff Schwartz.

Non-Division Schedule: AFC West and NFC East

Fantasy SleeperWR David Gettis – Gettis is a very interesting sleeper this year. He suffered an ACL tear last season and never had the opportunity to experience the regular season with Cam Newton. He had 500+ yards in 2010 with a hodgepodge of quarterbacks throwing to him (Matt Moore, Jimmy Clausen and Tony Pike). Steve Smith had a Pro Bowl year in 2011 and Brandon LaFell had a promising season with 613 receiving yards. Gettis should win the #3 WR spot over Armanti Edwards and Joe Adams. Adams is someone to keep your eye on as a very deep sleeper. He is an impressive talent and could impress Carolina’s coaching staff in training camp.

Team Analysis: I am in the minority with my opinion of Carolina in 2012. I foresee teams going all-in on stopping Newton and causing a sophomore slump. If teams can keep him in the pocket and double-team Steve Smith, he’ll have a tough season. He will have to rely on Greg Olsen and Lafell heavily. Another reason for a regression in Newton’s numbers is the acquisition of Mike Goodson. He was a touchdown vulture in San Diego and Rob Chudzinski, Carolina’s offensive coordinator, was his coach there. Newton will not get the goal line carries he received in 2011. Carolina did add a nice young defensive piece by drafting Kuechly, but they need to fill a few more gaps on defense to stop New Orleans and Atlanta. Charles Johnson had a great season last year, but he needs more helping rushing the passer. I don’t see Carolina doing much this year, but keep an eye on them in 2013 and beyond. They need more playmakers on defense and another receiver to become a dependable option before they are playoff contender.

2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 7.5 (Prediction: UNDER)

2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 6-10

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2012 NFL Team Preview: Atlanta Falcons

After mortgaging their entire 2011 draft to acquire Julio Jones, Atlanta went 10-6. They lost to the eventual Super Bowl winner, New York Giants, and looked bad doing it. You never want a ‘2’ next to your name, unless the final score is 2-0.

In 2011, Atlanta won the games they were supposed to win and lost the games they were supposed to lose. They were a bit vanilla and didn’t have too many memorable moments that I can recall.

Can Michael Turner rebound from a horrible second-half in 2011? Does a new offensive coordinator translate into better passing numbers for Matt Ryan?

Here’s our 2012 NFL team preview for the Atlanta Falcons.

(Yes, that is Playboy’s Jaime Edmondson in an Atlanta Falcons shirt…expect a lot more of her in our NFL team preview posts.)

2011 Win/Loss Record: 10-6

Key Additions: CB Asante Samuel, LB Mike Peterson, C Peter Konz, OT Lamar Holmes, Bradie Ewing and Jonathan Massaquoi.

Key Losses: CB Kelvin Hayden, WR Eric Weems, S James Sanders and LB Curtis Lofton.

Non-Division Schedule: AFC West and NFC East

Fantasy SleeperWR Harry Douglas – I did think Jason Snelling would be the best fantasy sleeper on the Falcons, but Harry Douglas is a better deep sleeper. The new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is rumored to be implementing a pass-happy offense. Matt Ryan looks good early in camp and is said to already have a good feel for the new offense. Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez can’t catch all the balls and if Douglas can stay healthy, he’ll get some targets.

Team Analysis: Ryan will be better under the new offensive coordinator. They won’t have to rely on Michael Turner as much, which is a bonus for the team. His heavy workload seems to be taking a toll on him and Snelling could find more carries by the end of the season. Asante Samuel will help them a lot in the secondary. They were 20th in opposing passing yards and facing the NFC South is difficult a difficult task. They catch a break in the scheduling by playing four games against the AFC West, but then face the upgraded NFC East. They will have a better season in 2012, especially since Ryan will have a full training camp with Jones and the rest of his wide receivers.

2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 9 (Prediction: OVER)

2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 11-5

CLICK HERE to read the rest of our 2012 NFL Team Previews

A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.

2009 NFL Preview: NFC South

As I was predicting all the games this season, something stay consistent with 2008, the NFC South will be very close. Last year, nearly every team in the division had the lead at some point in the season. Can Reggie Bush be a showstopper for the Saints? Can the new regime in Tampa Bay keep up with their winning ways? Can Jake Delhomme rebound from a rought post-season and help lead the Panthers to a division crown? Can Matt Ryan survive a sophomore jinx? Check out the NFC South portion of our 2009 NFL Preview.

New Orleans Saints– (Projected Finish 11-5)

Drew Brees had a career year last season, but the Saints fell short of their goals as a team. Reggie Bush missed a good portion of the season due to injury, but they found a potential future star in Pierre Thomas in the process. Deuce McAllister is no longer with the team and they will need Thomas to produce. If he is unable, Mike Bell and P.J. Hill will have to take over. The Saints receiving corps are loaded with guys with great hands. Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, and Robert Meachem are all due to have nice seasons since Brees spreads the ball around. If their offensive line holds up, their offense will be fierce.

The Saints defense has been their weakest part of their game, mostly their secondary. Scott Fujita and Jonathan Vilma are a good duo at linebacker and Charles Grant and Will Smith should get to the quarterback with efficiency. They drafted Malcolm Jenkins in the first round this summer and they will need him to contribute immediately. If he stays at corner, which is still in question since he would be a nice safety, he will be tested often by NFL quarterbacks. If they can stop the run and be able to play in 3rd and long situations in a dime or nickel defense with added help in the secondary, the Saints will go a long way this season.

The NFC South play the NFC East and AFC East this season and they will have a tough schedule. Both of those divisions are good, but they lucked out since they get the New York Giants, New England Patriots, and Dallas Cowboys all at the Superdome. The other non-divisional games are at St. Louis and they get Detroit at home, you couldn’t ask for an easier two opponents. The Saints have a little edge with the schedule and in such a tight race, they should win this division.

Atlanta Falcons– (Projected Finish 10-6)

It’s rare that a team can improve as much as the Atlanta Falcons did in one season. They went from 4-12 in 2007 to 11-5 in 2008, a lot of it had to do with the additions of Matt Ryan and Michael Turner. They both produced better than expected in their first seasons in Atlanta. Roddy White and Michael Jenkins improved with Ryan at quarterback as well. Management started to worry about the receivers, but last season changed their mind. I was looking for Harry Douglas to have a breakout year this season, but an injury will keep him out all year. The addition of Tony Gonzalez at tight end will make this offense better than last season, since they barely targeted the position last year.

John Abraham and Mike Peterson are the two veterans on this very young defense. Some of the young players like Jamaal Anderson will need to step up if they plan on staying in the playoff race. I think the Falcons take a small step back this season because of their defense

Atlanta have a tough schedule ahead of them. They had tough road games at New England, New York Giants, and Dallas. Their other non-divisional games are at San Francisco, and home against Chicago, which they should split these games. As I look farther into their schedule, 10-6 may be their best case scenario, but it’s definitely plausible.

Carolina Panthers– (Projected Finish 9-7)

The Panthers looked great last season, until Jake Delhomme decided to throw passes to the other team in their playoff game. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were a great duo and each saw their share of the end zone. Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammed contributed and they received better than expected contributions from the tight ends, Dante Rosario and Jeff King. They will need to rely on their tight ends again, since a third-option at wide receiver has yet to emerge, but Dwayne Jarrett may step up and be that option. If the Panthers can keep running the ball on defenses, they will win, but if they get behind and Delhomme has to pass the ball, it could be a long season.

Julius Peppers had a long off-season and finally settled with the idea of being a franchise-tag player this season. He will want to have a great season to garner a huge contract, so Peppers will be a beast this season. Jon Beason and Dan Connor are a great young linebacking corps and should only get better and better. Their secondary could use another impact player, but Chris Gamble and Richard Marshall will need to hold their own against the pass. If Peppers can stay healthy and if they are able to put points on the board, the Panthers will be alright, but Peppers has been known to miss a few games.

Carolina is in the same boat as Atlanta when it comes to their schedule. They also play at New England, New York Giants, and Dallas, and hav a tough non-divisional schedule with Minnesota and Arizona on their schedule. Carolina will had a tough road ahead if they plan on making the playoffs, so I them about a game out of the last Wild Card spot in the NFC.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers– (Projected Finish 5-11)

Jon Gruden is out as the head coach and Monte Kiffin followed his son to the University of Tennessee. Raheem Morris is the new head coach and he plans to implement a new defense and the “Tampa 2” will no longer be ran. That is the biggest difference that is taking place in Tampa, but their quarterback situation is also clear as mud. Byron Leftwich is the leader out of the clubhouse, but Luke McCown is second-in-line, and Josh Freeman is the quarterback of the future. They added Derrick Ward this off-season and they should have a nice three-headed attack with Cadillac Williams and Ernest Graham seeing carries. Their wide receiver corps lacks depth and experience. Antonio Bryant is the #1, but he’s dealing with an injury. Maurice Stovall is stepping up his game and Sammie Stroughter is said to be a hard worker. Kellen Winslow will be needed a lot if the receivers don’t step up and produce. The offensive line will have their hands full with Leftwich’s slow release. He will be on his back a lot this season, they can’t get discouraged since many of the sacks won’t be the fault of the O-line, but should be blamed on his slow release.

Tampa Bay have cleaned house, Derrick Brooks and Cato June are no longer at the core of the defense. Ronde Barber is the only elite player left from their Super Bowl team. They will have to rely on their young players developing into Pro Bowlers. Gaines Adams and Aqib Talib are the players with the most pressure to produce. It may be a long season for the Tampa Bay defense and may take a year to get the personnel to fully implement the new defensive scheme.

The Bucs have a non-divisional schedule of Green Bay and Seattle, much better than Atlanta and Carolina’s schedule. Their regular games against the AFC East and NFC East are favorable as well, since they play a lot of the better teams at home. The easier schedule may be wasted on them, since Tampa Bay may have a hard time notching wins this season. The changeover on the roster and the new coaching staff may lead to some growing pains in 2009.
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A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.