I was just looking through the schedule and wanted to chime in on how I see the NFC South wrapping up.
As I wrote in the post I have the Falcons winning the division at 11-5 but after that what cane we expect to see from the rest of the division. The NFC south is always tough because the teams all seemed to be better balanced than in years past. With that said here is how I see the division finishing.
- Atlanta Falcons 11-5
- Carolina Panthers 8-8
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7-9
- New Orleans Saints 6-10
Yes the Panthers got better and having Cam Newton get a season under his belt they will be a better team and beat some of the also ran teams in the NFL. It wouldn’t surprise me if they even get more than 8 wins this year. Tampa Bay improved the wide receivers 10x by adding Vincent Jackson and I like a few of their picks in the draft. They improved their defense which has to cover the speedy Falcon receivers twice a year. The Saints are going to be a mess. Without a head coach and the chemistry Drew Brees has with him will cause issues. Just the contract Brees signed has to piss off a few of the players and divide a locker room.
Was just sitting around thinking about the upcoming season when it dawned on me that the Atlanta Falcons probably have the best receiving corp in the league. While there are many good wide receivers I don’t think there is a core group that is better than the Atlanta Falcons.
Roddy White (6-0 211) has speed a great set of hands and the ability to out-jump almost any defender. Roddy also has the ability to block and chase down defensive backs that make interceptions. I can’t count the amount of times that Roddy has used his big frame to block when Michael Turner is trying to run out in Roddy’s direction.
Roddy has shown us that when not double covered he has an uncanny ability to find a hole in the zone and sit there until Matt Ryan throws him the ball. Not a bad second or third option at all. He is also tough and not scared to cut across the middle. He also gets involved in run plays and tries to take out the safety when Michael Turner runs up the middle.
Julio Jones(6-4 220lbs) has break away speed and this forces teams to either double cover him which gives Roddy an edge to make plays. When Julio is single or zoned covered it is just a matter of time before he breaks a big play. He is not scared to cut across the middle like Wes Welker and has speed to turn an average 5-10 yard catch into something more spectacular. I am sure he is only going to improve and be a superstar with Roddy and Tony Gonzalez there to teach him some pointers. At 23 years old the sky is the limit for him.
Tony Gonzalez is a hall of fame tight end and I don’t think I can say anything about him that hasn’t been said already. He creates so many problems to the defense that some weeks he is the guy that gets double covered. Who else has a tight end that demands that much respect. Tony may have the best hands in the NFL. He is the go-to guy on 3rd down since Brian Finneran retired.
Harry Douglas (6-0 183 lbs) plays mostly in the slot and has a knack for breaking into open zones and turning in some big plays. Harry is very fast and has a great set of hands. He has no fear of cutting across the middle and he helps confuse defenses and is usually open a lot when the Falcons go three wide at receiver and teams are forced to cover both Roddy and Julio. He has also made some big 3rd down catches when Tony is covered and Matt has time for a 4th option.
While there are a few teams with good receivers I don’t think any other team has a balance of this many good receivers. Sure you have Calvin Johnson in Detroit but who is their other receivers? Green Bay has a good balance with Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson/Donald Driver but I don’t think they are on the same level as the Falcons. We will have to see what Larry Fitzgerald will teach Michael Floyd but that is still a year or two away. There numbers are also going to be off because of having a lousy qb situation.