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Fearless Rick's NFL Preview - NFC South

Rick Gagliano | August 1, 2013

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

2012 Record: 13-3

2013 Expected Finish: 13-3

The Falcons have all of the talent, coaching, fan support and desire for another sensational season, possibly even better than they did in 2012.

There's plenty of room for improvement on defense, which was ranked 24th overall, allowing 365.6 yards per contest, but the talent level on the offense is simply mind-boggling. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez form the core of the NFL's best passing offense. Add in running backs Steven Jackson (a brute, taken from St. Louis) and diminutive Jacquizz Rodgers and the Falcons can, at times, be unstoppable.

Forget about pressure from the other teams in their division. The Falcons are looking at running the table and being the top seed in the playoffs.

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Carolina Panthers

2012 Record: 7-9

2013 Expected Finish: 10-6

Cam Newton hopefully did some growing up and reassessing in the off-season, because he found himself making too many excuses during the regular season.

Newton is still the prototype of the new NFL quarterback, one who can throw, read defenses and run the option, and he needs to get back to basics with his fellow players.

A little improvement on defense, which, surprisingly, ranked 10th overall and allowed 22.7 points per game in 2013, could land the Panthers into the playoffs.

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New Orleans Saints

2012 Record: 7-9

2013 Expected Finish: 7-9

While there's little doubt that Drew Brees is destined for the hall of fame, the Saints need more than just a strong-armed, quick-witted QB to get back into the playoff hunt this season.

They need a defense. Period.

After finishing dead last in yards allowed - and by a wide margin of over 50 yards per game worst than the #31-ranked Giants - the Saints must rebuild almost the entire defense, but starting with the front seven, which was mostly responsible for the Saints allowing a league worst 147.6 yards per game.

Defenses are not born overnight. A 7-9 finish might be optimistic for New Orleans.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2012 Record: 7-9

2013 Expected Finish: 5-11

This team just needs to keep focused on rebuilding, and not their record because they're one of the longest shots in the league to reach the playoffs.

This year may be a step back for the Bucs, but they should continue to train their talent toward winning in 2014 and beyond.

Copyright 2013, 2014, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.


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