The NFC South has produced three Superb Owl Champions in its current form. The Buccaneers twice and the Saints once. Both Atlanta and Carolina have made appearances but neither walked away with the Lombardi Trophy. No teams from the South will be getting their paws on the crystal football this year. Red actually thinks this could be the worst division in the NFL this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Red has to pick the Bucs almost by default. Their stock ticked up when Tom Brady quickly unretired much to the chagrin of Giselle. Did Tom think he wouldn’t have anything to talk about with the boys down at the club? Did he desperately need another $27.27 million? Did he just need some time away from home? Who knows. Certainly not Red. What Red does know is that this is not the same Bucs team that promptly exited the playoffs especially upfront on offense. Ryan Jensen, possibly the best center in the league, is out for most if not all of the season. Alex Cappa is gone via free agency and Ali Marpet surprised everyone by retiring at age 28 after making his first Pro Bowl. More than half of the line is gone and while there are some capable replacements in the wings, this does not bode well for the beginning of the season. Brady is a quick release QB but how quick will he have to be against players who may be gunning for the title of the “Edge Rusher who Ended Tom Brady’s Career.” There are still plenty of weapons around Brady. With Mike Evans all he has to do is get the ball in his general vicinity (ask Johnny Football about that) and Julio Jones is not quite yet tired and old. No team faces a more brutal opening stretch with the Cowboys, Saints, Packers and Chiefs. There is a real possibility this teams starts the season 1-3 or 0-4. A 2-2 start would actually be a good sign. Red says the Bucs go 0-4 and TB starts thinking about why he decided to come back. Tampa Bay goes 11-6 and exits stage left.
Carolina Panthers – There is a lot to like with Baker in the backfield. He was born and bread for this job. He is not in it just for the dough. Baker won’t be muffin his second chance to prove himself a capable NFL quarterback. The teams starts on a roll at 6-2 after Baker chews up the Brownies in week one and bagels the Giants in week two with no turnovers. Bundt then the team hits some rough spots. Those old doubts start to crepe in. But then he sees eclair path to more wins. More croissant patterns to get his receivers open and just pastel the defense wears down. The offense clicks and the Panthers macaron for the division lead. Red knows he is samosa be skeptical about a team like this. The Panthers surprise everyone when they schnenken to the playoffs with a 10-6 record.
New Orleans Saints – Red likes the Saints. There is not a single fan base in the NFL that is more deserving of winning another championship than the New Orleans faithful. If you are ever in New Orleans on a game day you will see what I mean. At least 2/3rds of the people are walking around in their black and gold (gold lame preferred for the female fans). The fans are loyal through thick and thin. Unfortunately this year is pretty thin. The Saints have nine playoff teams from 2022 on the schedule. Going 8-9 will be quite a feat.
Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons are still in the midst of a lengthy rebuilding process. The end is not in sight. The Falcons are not bereft of talent, but don’t expect Cordarelle Patterson to carry the load like he did in the first half of last season before disappearing. Red confesses that he has always liked Marcus Mariota. And a turn around is not impossible if Mariota can find some confidence. The Falcons have 6 to 8 winnable games before Thanksgiving. Maybe just maybe? Nah! The Falcons are a 7-10 club at best. Wait til next year.