Poll: Who Will Win The NFC South?

The NFC South was a two-team race in 2013, with the 12-4 Panthers ultimately eking out the division title over the 11-5 Saints. However, unlike in most of the NFL’s other divisions, the defending NFC South champions aren’t the frontrunners to take the crown again in 2014 — betting side Bovada.lv has New Orleans as the odds-on favorites to win the South.

The Saints certainly look good heading into the season, having added first-round wideout Brandin Cooks to an already explosive offense and signed star safety Jairus Byrd to fortify the secondary. But they aren’t a lock to win one of the league’s most intriguing divisions.

According to Bovada, the Panthers aren’t even the second-most likely club to win the South in 2014. That distinction goes to the Falcons, who won the division in 2012 before unexpectedly slipping to 4-12 last season. Having revamped their offensive and defensive lines this offseason – with rookie tackle Jake Matthews, guard Jon Asamoah, and defensive linemen Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson among the new additions – the Falcons are poised to bounce back.

Another 2013 underperformer, the Buccaneers, shouldn’t be ruled out as a contender either. As our Zach Links detailed last night, Tampa Bay’s ’13 season was derailed by controversy surrounding then-coach Greg Schiano and then-quarterback Josh Freeman, but the club has made a number of interesting offseason moves, including signing defensive end Michael Johnson and drafting Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans. The Bucs’ success – or lack thereof – this coming season may hinge on Josh McCown‘s performance under center, since the roster is certainly loaded with plenty of talent at other positions.

And of course, last season’s division champs shouldn’t be overlooked. A candidate for regression, Carolina’s cap struggles forced the team to part ways with a few key contributors, including longtime Panther Steve Smith, and there are questions about whether Cam Newton will have enough weapons to utilize. But this is still a strong team, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, where few clubs have a scarier pass-rushing duo than Carolina’s Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson.

What do you think? Who wins the NFC South in 2014?

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