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Breaking Down the NFC South Division for the 2018 NFL Season

NFL Betting: Breaking Down the NFC South for 2018

By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Attesting to the strength of the NFC South division is that three teams won ten or more games last season, as the Saints, Panthers, and Falcons all made the playoffs. The 5-win Buccaneers look to bounce back this season. At any rate, there's a lot of quality in this division, as well as a lot of potential variance. For those looking to take a stand, there are some interesting angles at play in this division. The fireworks should be plenty and pinning down how things will play out here is indeed challenging. Let's try to wrap our heads around what the NFC South will look like this season, along with our over/under projected wins total picks.

Atlanta Falcons (10-6 last season)
Pros:
Roster looks powerful
Core of offense remains with addition of rookie WR Calvin Ridley
Premier QB, RB, two excellent receivers, and nice supporting cast on offense
Better health on playmaking defense
Massive difference-making components on both sides of ball
Defense now a major force—reason they won 10 games in '17
Coming off a season where they nearly made another deep run
Is defense becoming a true force?
Cons:
Fragile in the face of bad injuries
Tough division and schedule
Still have tendency to collapse in games where everything is going right
Offense took step back last season
Is offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian a good fit?
With defensive leadership in place, can they recover from losing brains behind offense?
Some key pieces are injury-prone
Is O-line still up-to-par?
Is Julio Jones unhappy?
Can Beasley and others regain form and give them a big pass-rush?
Schedule looks tough on paper, could be difficult down the stretch
Loot's Pick for O/U Wins: Over 9 wins at -130. The offense added juice and the defense has forged itself into being one of the best groups in the conference. One can understand anticipating a down-year on some levels, but at least 9 wins seems very feasible for this bunch.

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Carolina Panthers (11-5 last season)
Pros:
A lot of winning pieces still in place
Made some nice additions
Young playmakers could be due to manifest this season
Team gets a lot out of what they have
Defense has firepower and depth
Forged a gritty 11-win season last year
Will Norv Turner bring more out of Newton and offense?
Developed nice playmaker last season in Christian McCaffrey
Torrey Smith and Dontari Poe nice additions
DJ Moore—first round receiver could help
WR Devin Funchess has developed into a dependable weapon
Defensive front seven tremendous
Good against run
Top-notch pass-rush helps whole defense
Schedule could be exploitable in spots
Cons:
Offense has potential and depth, with no obvious difference-makers
Tough division with six demanding and taxing NFC South games
Is Newton deteriorating?
Thomas Davis suspended first four games, leaves them weaker in middle
Issues at corners—especially tough in this division
Four out of five on road in November in brutal patch
Loot's Pick for O/U Wins: Over 8.5 wins at -120. They won 11 games last season with not everything going their way. It's a tough division where some variance can occur, but we would consider a mild a surprise if the Panthers weren't better than .500 this season.

New Orleans Saints (11-5 last season)
Pros:
Tremendous horsepower on offense
Great QB in Brees, rising receiver in Thomas, and two great backs
Ingram and Kamara best 1-2 backfield punch in league
Added receivers Cameron Meredith and Brandon Coleman
Interesting draft could pay off
Defense improving with draft
More playmaking ability on defense
Nice front-office moves in recent seasons starting to resonate
Team starting to show balance of their glory era
Lattimore looked great as a top draft pick last season
Team built to win now
Brees coming off best career completion percentage last season
Traded up to get pass-rusher Marcus Davenport
Get Patrick Robinson back at CB
Easy start to the season should lead to at least a 2-0 start
Cons:
Tough division and schedule
Not always a consistent football machine
Age could be a problem in certain areas
Coming off brutal end to the season
Ingram suspended to open the season
Will age show for Brees?
Can they be resilient to injury bug?
Loot's Pick for O/U Wins: Over 9.5 wins at -120. The Saints could have any number of things go wrong, but they could be a Super Bowl team. And if they get anything close to that billing, a season with double-digit wins seems to be in the cards for 2018.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11 last season)
Pros:
Playmaking ability that exists on paper could start to resonate on field
Top aerial weapons for Winston to exploit
Potential difference-makers in Pierre-Paul, rookies Vea and Jones, II.
Roster looks good
Added some beef on the line of scrimmage
Spent some money to make their core stronger
Draft could be impactful with first-rounder, three seconds, and darkhorse third
They were seemingly a team on the rise a short time ago, can they reclaim that form?
Cons:
Winston suspended to open the season
Winston not improving and issues continue to mount
Formula seems to have gone stale
Talent on defense never really materialized
Run-game not cemented
Hard to win in this division
Unaddressed holes on defense
Seem to have taken on an underachieving vibe
Without Winston early and a tough schedule, will they fall into a hole?
Loot's Pick for O/U Wins: Under 6.5 at -145. They went to a team on the rise to a team everyone is picking last. It's not an easy decision, but with Winston out to begin the season, the Bucs might fall into a hole in which they are unable to recover. Make this bet for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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