Fire the cannons? The Tampa Buccaneers enter the 2021 season as the NFL’s defending champions. They also return all starters from offense and defense for another run at a title. Clearly, they are the clear favorites in this division this season. Only one other NFC South team returns a Quarterback from last year, that being the Falcons. The Panthers welcome in Sam Darnold and the Saints are still figuring out who will start out of Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill.
Here is the quick preview for the 2021 NFC South Division!
- Key Additions: Drafted TE – Kyle Pitts, re-signed RB – D’Onta Freeman, re-signed DE – Dante Fowler
- Key losses: WR – Julio Jones (traded to TEN)
- Starting Quarterback: Matt Ryan
- Last season: 4-12 (4th in NFC South)
2021 outlook: Julio Jones is in Tennesse and it seems like Matt Ryan favors his other receivers anyways. Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage return as targets. A new comer rookie Kyle Pitts also should be a favorable option for Ryan. The Tight End was draft in the 2021 draft as the Falcons lost TE Austin Hooper to the Browns. With Brees retiring and the Panthers making another QB change, the door is open for the Falcons to possibly surprise or disappoint. They’ll be chasing the Buccaneers all season long for the division but playoffs? You’re asking the Falcons to at least go no more than 9 losses if the NFC standings allows an 8-8 team to qualify for the playoffs. The highest cieling for this team?
- Key additions: QB – Sam Darnold (via trade), CB – Jaycee Horn, DE – Morgan Fox, DE/LB – Haason Reddick, LB – Denzel Perryman, LB – Frankie Luvu, CB – A.J. Bouye, and CB – Rashaan Melvin
- Key losses: QB – Teddy Bridgewater (traded to DEN)
- Starting Quarterback: Sam Darnold (assumed)
- Last season: 5-11 (3rd in NFC South)
2021 outlook: Carolina makes up one of two NFC South teams that we can say is “rebuilding”. Out goes Bridgewater as QB and here comes Sam Darnold to prove himself again. Can Darnold overachieve and put the Panthers as a winning ball club this season? If you believe in schedule strength based on last season’s records then, the Panthers have an easy schedule for the most part. Their October schedule features five Sunday games and three of them against NFC East teams (Cowboys, Eagles, and Giants). They also are scheduled to play only four teams that made the playoffs last season (Buccaneers, Saints, Washington, and the Bills). We probably would be more surprised if this team goes the season competing for a .500 record.
New Orleans Saints
- Key additions: WR – Jalen McCleskey, FB – Alex Armah, DE – Tanoh Kpassagnon
- Key losses: QB – Drew Brees (retirement), TE – Jared Cook, LB – Kwon Alexander, DT – Malcom Brown, WR – Emmanuel Sanders
- Starting Quarterback: Jameis Winston
- Last season: 12-4 (1st in NFC South)
2021 outlook: the Saints coming marching in errr, Jameis Winston does actually now that he is announced as the QB1. WR Michael Thomas is going to miss time and with a new QB (and hopefully it’s not a caresoual between Winston and Hill) the Saints will struggle to find their new indentity in the post-Brees era. They start the season with a test against the Packers and could be a .500 football team by Week 5 and then face the Seahawks and Buccaneers in Week 6 and 7 respectively. With the extra game this season and the defensive core still in place the Saints could jump into the playoffs on Wild Card weekend.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Key additions: Re-signed entire starting unit from offense and defense
- Key losses: Maybe thinking about the 5 games they lost last season?
- Starting Quarterback: Tom Brady
- Last season: 11-5 (2nd in NFC South)
2021 outlook: at this point can we expect the Buccaneers not to try for 17-0? What can top last season’s journey? Only thing we can think of is repeating as the 2021 NFL Champions. Again, barring serious injuries disclaimer here the Buccaneers are primed as one of the best champions of recent time to repeat. Their defensive is well respected and intact the same as last year. The only thing that the Buccaneers had was extra time to get better prepared for this season. As for this division consider it Tampa’s again in 2021.