We’re still over a month and a half away from the start of battles on the NFL gridiron, but there’s no offseason when it comes to debate amongst fans. Earlier this summer, we launched a new series here at PFR that will be known as the Community Tailgate. What’s the Community Tailgate all about? Well, it’s pretty simple. Every weekday, we’ll highlight one of the top stories going on in the NFL. Then, in the comment section below, we want you to weigh in and let us know what you think.
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As the 2015 season inches closer, we’re examining each NFL division, asking you which team you expect to finish atop the East, North, South, and West. Having already taken a closer look at the East and North divisions, we’re shifting our focus to the NFC South, home of 2014’s most tepid division race.
A year ago, it only took seven wins – and, of course, a tie – for the Panthers to snag the NFC South crown, and Carolina is bringing back most of its key players that contributed to that team. Armed with a handful of veteran additions, including offensive tackle Michael Oher, cornerback Charles Tillman, and return specialist Ted Ginn Jr., the Panthers will be looking to repeat as division champions.
The Saints entered 2014 as favorites in the South, but it never came together for Drew Brees‘ squad, and the disappointing season resulted in a major overhaul over the last few months. Jimmy Graham, Kenny Stills, Curtis Lofton, and Ben Grubbs are among the players who were traded or released, and while the team brought in some veteran talent like C.J. Spiller, Max Unger, and Brandon Browner, there will be more pressure on the club’s younger contributors to produce in 2015.
While Carolina and New Orleans could only muster seven wins apiece, the Falcons and Buccaneers combined for just eight in total. It’s not clear yet whether either team has a bounce-back season in store, but there are major changes afoot in both Atlanta and Tampa Bay — the Falcons hired former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to be their new head coach, while the Buccaneers used the No. 1 overall pick in the draft to land a new quarterback, Jameis Winston. Quinn should help plug the leaks on the Falcons’ defense, and the Bucs could be an intriguing sleeper if Winston provides solid quarterback play.
What do you think? Does the NFL’s worst division from 2014 look any better in 2015? Which team do you expect to win the NFC South this season? Make your pick and let us know what you think in the comment section!