2014 NFC SOUTH PREVIEW

The NFC South is intriguing this year. The Panthers surprised all by taking out the division last year but the Saints are the Saints and the Falcons will be back this year making it very competitive. 

Here is a preview of the four teams from the NFC South:

Carolina Panthers 

Coach: Ron Rivera

Stadium: Bank of America Stadium 

These cats purred under the radar all last year and then won the division. And then they were one and done. In the off season they lost their wide receivers. Newton’s law says what goes up must come down. Let’s hope for Cam he can throw the pigskin up and it comes down in the right place with his new receiving corp. 

Key losses: WR Steve Smith, WR Brandon LaFell, WR/KR Ted Ginn, OT Jordan Gross, G Geoff Hangartner, G Travelle Wharton, CB Captain Munnerlyn, S Michael Mitchell, S Quintin Mikell 

Key signings: WR Jerricho Cotchery, WR Jason Avant, WR Tiquan Underwood, TE Ed Dickson, CB Antoine Cason, S Roman Harper, WR Kelvin Benjamin, DE Kony Ealy, G Trai Turner, S Tre Boston, CB Bene Benwikere

 Panthers

New Orleans Saints

Coach: Sean Payton

Stadium: Mercedes Benz Superdome 

First there was ‘bountygate” and then last year there was “roadgate”. The Saints just need to win on the road to be a legitimate chance. “Brees to Graham”, “Drew to Jimmy” will be the most common phrases said by commentators when New Orleans are in possession and so they should be. Let’s just hope the commentators don’t say “and there’s a slam dunk from Jimmy Graham”. It’s a very dangerous division, but so is Drew. 

Key Departures: RB Darren Sproles, WR Lance Moore, LB Jonathan Vilma, S Roman Harper, S Malcolm Jenkins, DE Will Smith  

Key Arrivals: S Jairus Byrd, C Jonathan Goodwin, WR Brandin Cooks and CB Jean Stanley-Baptiste

 Saints

Atlanta Falcons 

Coach: Mike Smith

Stadium: Georgia Dome 

They had the Ice Man throwing the ball last year, but he just didn’t’ have anyone to throw too. There was more ice thrown in the ice bucket challenge, than touchdowns. The Falcons had both their wings clipped when they lost Roddy White and Julio Jones last season. These two are now fit and expect the Falcons to be sticking their beaks into everyone’s business this season. 

Key losses: TE Tony Gonzalez, FS Thomas Decoud 

Key signings: G Jon Asamoah, OT Jake Matthews, DE Tyson Jackson, DT Paul Soliai, RB Devonta Freeman

atlanta

 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 Coach: Lovie Smith

Stadium: Raymond James Stadium 

There’s plenty of love in Tampa Bay with new coach Lovie Smith. These Buccaneers aren’t quite swashbuckling yet, but they aren’t too far away. They didn’t come on last year like many expected, but with an extra year under their belt don’t be surprised to see them in a wild card race. Doug Martin is integral to success and if the new QB can connect with star Vincent Jackson, a few teams will be walking the plank to defeat. 

Key losses: CB Darrelle Revis, FB Erik Lorig, OT Donald Penn, G Ted Larsen, G Davin Joseph 

Key signings: OT Anthony Collins, C Evan Dietrich-Smith, CB Mike Jenkins, DE Michael Johnson, QB Josh McCown, DT Clinton McDonald, CB Alterraun Verner, SS Major Wright

Tampa

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