Can Anyone Take the NFC South from Tampa?

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The short answer for the headline is no. The long answer probably can also be no. But, where is the fun in that? Am I playing Tampa to win the division, absolutely not. It isn’t worth the -270 price, but you can combine them with another division winner and get some value. I’ll talk about that soon.

Tampa finished atop the division last year. They were four games better than the Saints, the next best team in the division last year. Now, let’s get into what to do with them. My route is to parlay the Buccaneers and the Bills for division winners at +102. Aside from that, there is no reason to take the Buccaneers for anything. The only way they lose the division is if Brady gets injured. And, since he is close to being eligible for social security, it is a realistic possibility. He does a great job of protecting himself, but all it takes is one mistake, unfortunately.

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If any team could conceivably take the division outside of Tampa, it is New Orleans. The Saints have a solid team, but they still aren’t great. Jameis Winston is still an enigma of a quarterback, but he has Michael Thomas coming back – reports say he is looking as good as he did when Brees was slinging passes to him. Alvin Kamara is still explosive and a difference maker. Jarvis Landry is in the mix, too, making their team that much better. Defense is where I have the questions. Will they be able to stop anyone when they need to? Cameron Jordan is a solid player and Tyrann Mathieu can make a huge difference on a team. If they put it together the Saints are the only team I see with a realistic shot to win the division, and even that I think you’re not getting enough value at +310.

Let me make a short note about the Falcons. The Falcons probably would be better off turning the team over to Desmond Ridder. Kyle Pitts could still be a great fantasy player, but that doesn’t do anything for us with the division. I think the Falcons might be one of the bottom five teams in the league. Don’t bother.

The Carolina Panthers have a decent, young defense. In a couple of years, they might be able to make a difference and overtake the division. I think it is a bit lofty of a goal for this year. Baker Mayfield makes the team a bit better, but he was surrounded by much better talent in Cleveland and couldn’t make a difference. It wouldn’t shock me if they ended second in the division, but I don’t know if that is worth it at +400. At +1000, the Panthers are a decent value to win the division, I just think it is unlikely.

Written by David Troy

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