Ryan or Brees could be back in Super Bowl
June 12, 2018 3:06 AM
by Jim Feist
The NFC South is a power packed division and I would not be shocked if one of these teams ends up in the Super Bowl and maybe wins it. For me, the best of the lot are the Saints and Falcons, followed not too closely by the Panthers and the Bucs.
Let’s look at the QB’s that these teams should start the season with.
We start off with the new $150 million man. Yes, the Falcons rewarded Matt Ryan with a new five-year, $30 million per year contract. Ryan has proven over many years to be a very valuable asset and the marketplace allows for big numbers for quality QB’s.
The Saints follow right there, side by side with a quality QB in Drew Brees, who has proven again over many years to be a championship leader. The Panthers and Bucs follow with Cam Newton and Jameis Winston. Personally, I don’t have the same degree of confidence in either as I do in Ryan and Brees.
In the division, I see Saints, Falcons, Panthers and Bucs (I may flip the Panthers and Bucs).
Here’s my take on why.
New Orleans: The Saints are the one team with the most recent history of championship quality football. They have finished among the top five scoring teams in the NFC, averaging 27.9 points per game with Brees as a starter.
Brees keeps getting better with age. He led the NFL with 8.1 yards per passing attempt, 386 completions, and a 72.0 completion rate in 2017. He’s recorded a 100-plus passer rating in each of his last three seasons. The Saints face 10 defenses in 2018 that allowed more than 20.5 ppg last season. Brees’ offense posts 28.9 in this situation.
Atlanta: Yes, I know, the Falcons were more recently in the Super Bowl and held a 28-3 lead over the Patriots. Since that moment in time, they have had one major change and that was the loss of OC Kyle Shanahan.
They averaged right at 21 points per game in 2017. An easier schedule and added seasoning will see this unit improve immensely. My biggest issue is I haven’t seen them do it yet. The potential was realized two years ago with an explosive offense but my fear is their window may have closed.
Carolina: When you have a talent like Newton at QB, you just never know where you might go, especially if he can stay healthy. The problem with Cam is the style he plays. He puts himself in too many situations to take big hits. In today’s NFL that just won’t cut it for very long.
Coach Ron Rivera’s success offensively depends on establishing the run, Newton’s read-option, and subsequent play-action attack it sets up. The Panthers score 24.3 ppg behind Newton in his career. Where would this number be if the former MVP played 100 percent healthy?
Tampa Bay: Winston can make big throws down the field and strike in a flash, but needs to cut back on the turnovers. His maturation is one of the bigger challenges. There are times when his decision making and antics make you wonder.
New coaches sometimes can turn players around and get at the potential everyone knows they have. Outside of the addition of second-round pick Ronald Jones II at running back, the skill positions remain relatively unchanged.