Former Saints Coach Sean Payton Already Knows Who's Going To Win The NFC South

Former Saints coach Sean Payton has a WILD, out-of-the-box, "did he really just say that?" opinion when it comes to who will win the NFC South.

Payton, who retired (for now) after last season, is all in on the ... Saints.

"We finished last year at 9-8, with 50-something players that missed games because of injury,” Payton told USA Today.

"It’s easy to see two more wins there. That puts you at 11 (wins). And then conversely, it appears Tampa has had some injuries. I think the early schedule favors New Orleans, the way it sets up."

Tom Brady, Bucs favorites to win NFC South

The NFC South, at least on paper, appears to be Tampa Bay's division to lose by a wide margin.

The Bucs bring back just about everyone not named Rob Gronkowski, including some guy named Tom Brady, who didn't last quite as long as Peyton in his retirement.

Tampa is heavily favored to repeat as division champs this season, and shouldn't have much trouble with the other three teams.

Well, at least the other two teams, Payton said.

"Atlanta’s in transition. Carolina’s in transition. No disrespect to those teams but I feel like it’s a two-team race in that division," he added. "Will it be close? I’m sure it will be. But the coaching staff is intact with the same coordinators. There’s a lot of continuity. And that team knows that it can beat Tampa Bay."

Saints have dominated Brady and the Bucs

The Saints have had Brady's number since he came to the division two years ago, throttling the Bucs twice and somehow beating them 9-0 last December.

Brady is just 1-4 against New Orleans over the past two seasons - although that one win did come in the playoffs - and his numbers in those games don't exactly inspire much confidence.

Still, that was a Payton-led Saints team with Drew Brees under center for a couple of those losses.

Jameis Winston is set to return this year from an ACL injury, and while he looked better in limited time last season we all know he can be a major wild card.

Now, the Saints still have one of the league's better defenses and Dennis Allen has proven he knows how to give Brady and the Tampa offense fits, so there may be some legs to Payton's argument.

Regardless, we'll have a better idea soon enough. The Saints host the Bucs Sept. 18.


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Zach grew up in Florida, lives in Florida, and will never leave Florida ... for obvious reasons. He's a reigning fantasy football league champion, knows everything there is to know about NASCAR, and once passed out (briefly!) during a lap around Daytona. He swears they were going 200 mph even though they clearly were not.