NFC South 2019 Preview
The New Orleans Saints have topped the NFC South division in each of the last two years. Drew Brees and company have a shot at winning it three in a row, but that’s going to be easier said than done, even with the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers, teams which usually make life hard for New Orleans, are coming off disappointing campaigns.
In this NFC South preview for the 2019 season, Nitrogen Sports Blog briefly sums up the current shape of these aforementioned teams before they all hit the field in September.
NFC South top favorite: Saints still the team to beat
New Orleans Saints (-182)
With Sean Payton at the helm and Drew Brees taking snaps, it doesn’t seem like a smart idea to bet against the Saints. The Saints were a botched call away from reaching the Super Bowl last season, and they will use that as an added motivation to rule not only the NFC South, but the entire league as well.
The Saints are stacked with talented and versatile players like Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr. And they are no slouch on the trenches either.
Read: Who Will Win NFC North 2019?
The Saints’ offensive line allowed just 20 sacks in 2018, the second fewest in the NFL, while also opening up holes for the team’s ground attack. That A+ protection will continue in 2019.
The Saints also have elite talents from top to bottom. Players like DE Cameron Jordan, CB Marshon Lattimore, and LB Demario Davis give the Saints a stout presence in stopping their opponents. And the continuing development of their outstanding 2017 draft class should make the Saints even stronger.
Safety Marcus Williams and LB Alex Anzalone are a couple of key players that are coming into their prime and could put the team over the top. All told, the top team in this NFC South preview for the 2019 season boasts one of the most complete rosters in the NFL.
NFC South sleepers: Falcons and Panthers eager to reclaim their past glory in the division
Atlanta Falcons (+340)
The Falcons did not have an ideal 2018 season. They went 7-9 despite their quarterback Matt Ryan putting up gaudy numbers. Matty Ice threw for nearly 5,000 yards with 35 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. It’s one of the greatest seasons by a quarterback who played with a team that finished with a sub.500 record.
More impressive was the fact that Ryan put those numbers up despite playing behind a porous offensive line that allowed 42 sacks. He was also hit a career-high 108 times, but rookies Kaleb McGary and Chris Lindstrom give the team an infusion of talent up front offensively.
Carolina Panthers (+570)
For the Panthers, everything revolves around quarterback Cam Newton. Newton has a lot of peaks and valleys in his career, thus far. He was on top of the football world in 2015 when the Panthers went 15-1 and he was named MVP. But he’s also suffered though some lows.
Read: NFL NFC West 2019 Preview
Last year Carolina started off 6-1 only to finish 7-9 and much of the blame was directed at Newton. However, the former MVP was banged up. This year the Panthers are expecting a healthy Cam Newton to return to MVP form. The return of all-pro Greg Olsen will surely help Cam regain his form.
After taking a look at the top three contenders in the NFC South with this preview for the 2019 season, you can add more to your football knowledge by checking out Nitrogen Sports Blog’s articles on how to bet on sports and other divisional previews heading into the new chapter of the biggest pro sports league in America.