The NFC South division has been an up and down division, and it is one that is full of drama over the course of the last few years, and this year should be no exception on the NFL betting lines. Join our expert NFL handicappers, as we try to beat the odds to win the NFC South in 2012.
Last year, the Atlanta Falcons (Odds To Win NFC South Division: 1.14 to 1 @ 5 Dimes Sportsbook) basically went all-in with the NFL Draft, moving way up to take WR Julio Jones to complement WR Roddy White in a very talented offense. QB Matt Ryan had a great year, and both Jones and White per incredibly productive. That being said, the defense just wasn’t good enough, and the pieces to the puzzle weren’t added to make this team a legit Super Bowl contender in our eyes. This is still quite a good team though, and this is a deserving team to be in the playoffs. We just don’t think that there is a deep run to the Super Bowl coming, and we aren’t so sure that Atlanta should be the favorite on the odds to win the NFC South.
It has understandably been a heck of an offseason New Orleans Saints (2012 NFC South Odds: 1.35 to 1 @ 5 Dimes Sportsbook), and we can definitely sympathize with NFL betting fans that just don’t want to take their chances on a team that has had so much going on. Missing out on LB Jonathan Vilma for the year will hurt, as will not having DE Will Smith for a month. However, we think that the rest of the punishments for New Orleans, including the year-long suspension for Head Coach Sean Peyton are overblown. We are far more concerned about the fact that QB Drew Brees still doesn’t have that contract that he so badly wants to make him a Saint for the rest of his career, as that could linger. Losing OL Carl Nicks is going to hurt as well. Still, New Orleans’ offense is out of this world, and it isn’t going to take Peyton for that to keep up. TE Jimmy Graham should be in for another record-breaking type of season in 2012, and Brees should once again at least flirt with the idea of getting to 5,000 passing yards.
We think that it is very interesting to see what the Carolina Panthers (2012 NFC South Odds: 6 to 1 @ 5 Dimes Sportsbook) can do this year. The offense clearly came together with QB Cam Newton calling the shots. Newton had the best statistical season that a rookie quarterback has ever assembled. WR Steve Smith once again looks like one of the top speed burning receivers in the league. The pressure came off of both RBs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Neither had a great year, but combined, they had a fantastic campaign. Now, the next task for Head Coach Ron Rivera is to build up a defense that was the Achilles heel of the team. Can Carolina get there? Probably not quite yet, but this is definitely a team that is going to be a pain for the rest of the league when it can get its act together on both sides of the ball.
There aren’t many teams that we think can come from the longest NFL odds on the board to win a division, but we are at least cautioning that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Odds To Win NFC South: 16 to 1 @ 5 Dimes Sportsbook) could be good enough to get the job done. Remember that this was a team that just two years ago finished with 10 wins and just missed the playoffs. Tampa Bay has a new head coach in Greg Schiano, and he is going to bring a level of toughness that just wasn’t there with the youthful and exuberant Raheem Morris. The first thing that the Bucs did in the offseason, was bring in some proven leaders, WR Vincent Jackson and OL Carl Nicks, and then they drafted a true winner in S Mark Barron and a tough, hard-nosed runner in RB Doug Martin. This isn’t a team that is going to lose 10 games in a row like it did to end last season. Tampa Bay can be a legitimate winner this season, and we expect to see good things from the up and coming QB Josh Freeman. If he can limit turnovers and Schiano can get a good, solid rushing attack, whether it be from Martin or RB LeGarrette Blount, Tampa Bay will have the defensive intensity to be a pain to the rest of the NFC South.
Who will win the NFC South in 2012? Total Voters: 162
Who will win the NFC South in 2012?
Total Voters: 162
Atlanta Falcons Win NFC South +114 (1.14 to 1)
Field Wins NFC South -144
New Orleans Saints Win NFC South +135 (1.35 to 1)
Field Wins NFC South -165
Carolina Panthers Win NFC South +600 (6 to 1)
Field Wins NFC South -900
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Win NFC South +1600 (16 to 1)
Field Wins NFC South -2500
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