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NFC South Preview and Predictions
By Michael Alexander

The NFL Preseason is but a memory now and each team is gearing up for the real games that start in just two days. The defending Super Bowl Champs kick off the '07 campaign with they face last years surprising New Orleans Saints. I thought it appropriate at this point to take a look at the Saints team as well as their Division and see where they will fall when the season is all said and done.

The Saints will be playing in the tough NFC South that includes the likes of the Falcons and Panthers both of whom they get their hands on twice during the regular season. In looking at this division I see the following panning out as the season concludes:

First Place

New Orleans Saints -- Yes, I do see the New Orleans Saints repeating their success of last season. They not only had a good season last year but when you pour into the numbers they were even more dominant than you think as they won the stats in 14 of the 18 games that they played. In the off season they upgraded their offense even more with the addition of WR Robert Meachem and first round draft pick RB Antonio Pittman. Prediction: Don't be surprised if they go all the way to the Super Bowl. The NFC Championship game is not out of the question.

Second Place

Carolina Panthers --The Panthers were active in the off season after an 8-8 season. They extended WR Steve Smith's contract and acquired David Carr from the Texans. In the NFL Draft they picked up LB Jon Beason, WR Dwayne Jarrett and DE Charles Johnson who all will contribute this season. Their defense should be one of the best in the league again especially if MLB Dan Morgan can remain healthy. Their offense should get more production out of Jake Delhomme as David Carr should keep the heat on him to perform. Prediction: The Panthers will challenge New Orleans for the top spot but will fall short by losing the tie breaker of head to head. They will get to the playoffs as a Wild Card but will lose their second game of the playoffs.

Third Place

Atlanta Falcons --Coach Bobby Petrino left the friendly confines of the Louisville program with the hopes of being able to coach Michael Vick. Well, as we all know now, that is but a dream and he will have to guide the Falcon's fortunes with the likes of Joey Harrington. Harrington actually had a decent preseason and promised the coach that he won't be disappointed in him. The Falcons didn't do much to help themselves in the offseason so I don't see much happening here positive. Especially pinning playoff hopes on the likes of a QB who has proven he can't win at this level. Prediction: Will be lukcy to finish 6-10 and will be out of the playoffs once again.

Fourth Place

Tampa Bay Buccaneers --Tampa Bay comes into this season with a number of holes to fill and that we evident when Gruden elected to not move up in the draft and keep the picks that he had. As a result the Bucs had drafted 10 players who appear to be their future. Gruden also went out and acquired veteran QB's Jeff Garcia and Jake Plummer. It does give Tampa Bay depth and experience at the QB spot. This is going to be another rebuilding year with not much happening this season. Prediction: Like the Falcons, the Bucs will be lucky to hit the 6-10 mark. They will battle the Falcons for last place in the Division and will be out of the playoffs again.

Last season Michael finished the NFL season ranked #2 at and he is primed for another big season this year. Join Michael and all of his winning selections at


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