What’s gone wrong in the NFC South?

It only seems like yesterday that the new NFL season was getting underway, and we were all making our pre-season predictions as to how the regular season would pan out. A lot can happen in the space of a couple of months, and while some predictions have proved correct – The Bills and the Chiefs look like the class of the AFC for example – others have not gone quite as envisaged. The NFC South is surely the biggest case in point.

Before the first snap in the first game, the conventional wisdom was that the NFC South would be highly competitive and would showcase the best performers in the league. Yet we head into Week Eight with all four teams nursing a losing record and the Buccaneers and Falcons jointly leading by default on 3-4. It’s potentially good news for anyone who took up the 35/1 preseason odds on the Falcons winning the NFC South – most of the football sports books on legitgamblingsites.com have now reduced those betting odds to 4/1.

Buccaneers Offensive Implosion

There will be plenty of armchair pundits saying “I told you so.” When Tom Brady shocked the world by unretiring in March, Tampa Bay’s odds of winning the Super Bowl were slashed overnight from 25/1 to 7/1. That tells us two things. First, apart from their star player, Tampa’s offense is no great shakes. Second, they are effectively resting all hopes on a 45 year old QB with a fragile shoulder.

Bucs head coach described the Week 7 loss to the Panthers as the team’s darkest hour and dropped heavy hints that everyone – meaning everyone – needed to stand up and be counted and nobody is immune from being benched. We understand the implication, but Brady has simply had nothing to work with on offense with weak blocking, lackluster rushing and receivers spilling more than they catch.

Saints Go Marching South

The preseason talk was of the New Orleans Saints being likely playoff contenders who could challenge Tampa Bay for the NFC South top spot. We knew they would miss Sean Payton’s leadership, but nobody predicted the carnage that has seen them slip to 2-5.

Granted, they have been hit hard by injuries with Jameis Winston, Jarvis Landry, Michael Thomas, Marshon Lattimore, Paulson Adebo and Bradley Roby all out of action. The good news for Saints fans is that they are only one win behind the leaders, so the situation is recoverable, but if they are going to turn things around, they need to start now.

Panthers Pouncing from the Depths

Carolina have arguably had the worst start to the season of all. A 1-4 opening run during which they traded away the one ray of light, running back Christian McCaffrey, prompted them to fire head coach Matt Rhule.

However, Panthers fans are probably more upbeat than most in the NFC South, and will be celebrating the week seven trouncing of Tampa Bay for weeks to come. As for the rest of us, we can only watch and wait to see what surprises the division will throw up next in this topsy turvy season.

American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!