2007 NFC South Preview

2007 NFC South preview from MadduxSports.com. In addition to the free season previews you can find the best NFL Picks against the spread. Also for the online football bettors, bookmark the NFL odds page to have at your disposal.

NFC South Division Preview
By Adam Barone

1. Saints: New Orleans head coach Sean Payton seems to have proven that he’s a master of offensive scheming, especially when he pounded his former boss, Bill Parcells, into the ground on national TV last season. The Saints certainly made the right choice by signing QB Drew Brees instead of Daunte Culpepper before the ‘06 season, as Brees led the NFL in passing yards and Culpepper did close to nothing. Combining Payton and Brees with RBs Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister, makes for a team fit for the conference title game, as we saw in January. New Orleans went 6-2 on the road, but only 4-4 at home, an area where improvement should be expected. The Saints defense is above average, but could improve against the run. Not much was done in the off-season to make the defense better, though the offense has likely improved. The Saints drafted Tennessee WR Robert Meachem as a replacement for the departed WR Joe Horn, and Ohio State RB Antonio Pittman to use for uh…well, I’m sure Sean Payton will do something with him. Pittman doesn’t appear necessary, but Payton sure does love his toys. I have no doubt that everyone will get playing time and touch the ball frequently, and the Saints will be back in the playoffs, this time at 12-4.

2. Panthers: Before the 2006 season started it was as if the Panthers had already won the Super Bowl. As is expected with the unpredictability of the NFL these days, though, Carolina surprised everyone with only an 8-8 record. They went 5-1 in the division, but 1-5 against the rest of the NFC. Neither DeShaun Foster nor DeAngelo Williams was particularly impressive at running back in 2006, but both will need to step up their games in 2007. If Jake Delhomme does not show that he’s still capable of taking the offense to the next level relatively early in the upcoming season, then newly signed former number one overall draft pick David Carr may take over. The team needs a spark of some kind, as they produced only 307.7 yards per game last season. The defense allowed even less though, only granting opposing offenses 296.1 yards per contest. The similarity between the two averages makes one see how the team managed only a .500 record, and suggests that something was missing on offense. No matter which quarterback is calling the shots, he’ll need to make sure that the entire unit pulls their weight. The Delhomme/Carr competition and the addition of rookie WR Dwayne Jarrett will help the team come closer to, if not reach, their potential, and get into the playoffs at 10-6.

3. Falcons: The Falcons have to be “thanking their lucky stars” that they were smart enough to sign Joey Harrington as a backup in the off-season, as Michael Vick now may not ever play in the league again. Harrington has more experience than Matt Schaub, and is likely a better player. He fits better into new head coach Bobby Petrino’s offensive game plan than Vick would have, and still has plenty of potential. RBs Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood will need to adjust to a slightly different system, but may have even more success because there will be more of an aerial threat in the new offense. Harrington’s passing targets are decent, including TE Alge Crumpler and new arrival WR Joe Horn. The defense certainly has big names, with MLB Keith Brooking, CB DeAngelo Hall, S Lawyer Milloy, and DE John Abraham. A year removed from the Vick scandal and a year into coach Pertino’s new system I’ll like the Falcons chances much better, but this season it will be just a little bit too much for them to handle. They should still come out with a relatively respectable result at 9-7.

4. Buccaneers: The Bucs are certainly the least interesting team in the division. Chris Simms is the ideal starter at quarterback, but his health is not certain after his spleen removal, and it seems that veteran Jeff Garcia, signed as a free agent in the off-season, is pulling away as the best candidate for the starting job. RB Cadillac Williams had a terrible season in 2006, accumulating only 798 yards, and almost everyone else on the team of any note, other than first round draft pick DE Gaines Adams, is either over the hill, or darn close to it. I expect Tampa Bay to show a little bit of life because of Garcia’s ability, but basically fill the role of division doormat, going 5-11, maybe 6-10.

We have broken down each NFC South team in-depth. Read the individual NFL previews of the Saints, Panthers, Falcons, and Buccaneers from Maddux Sports.


2007 NFL Team Previews

As usual Maddux presents its anual 2007 NFL preview sorted by divisions. From each division you can find our predictions as well an individual team report of each National League Football Team. Click here to return to the main NFL season preview page.

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