I know every once in a blue moon I make claims and statements that may seem a tad outrageous but this post I truely believe in, not only as a Panther homer but also thinking like a unbias analyst. Here me now and mark my words.. Carolina Panthers will win the NFC south this season. Below I will list the reasons as to why I firmly believe this will happen and break it down by team. Infact not only do I think the Panthers will win the NFC south, I think the writing is on the wall and it's a given.
Atlanta Falcons. This coming season I see the Atlanta Falcons being stuck in purgatory. They wont stink, they won't be good, they wont neccesairly be in rebuild mode and they wont be tanking the season in order to get the number 1 overall pick. Abraham will be gone, new offensive coaching staff, Tony Gonzalez losing a step, Matt Ryan still trying to find his identity. I predict Falcons will have a very boring season this year. Will they be bad? Not neccesairly, however they wont be good either. I think the Falcons will be in soul searching mode next season and in the process will finish the season at a very boring yet fitting 7-9. When a team finishes the previous season by not being able to score more than 2 pts in the playoffs, you really can't fault a team for trying to regroup and find their identity.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I do see Tampa Bay improving next season. Now don't get me wrong, they wont be in the playoffs. I predict the Bucs will be the Carolina Panthers of 2011. Freeman will bounce back, new coaching staff will turn things around however like the 2011 Panthers they will lose a lot of close games and should finish at 6-10. They will be a favorite to get back in the playoffs in the 2013 season, however I wouldn't be totally shocked if they snuck in the playoffs this season via a wild card though unlikely.
New Orleans Saints. Ah yes, saved the best for last. Where to begin. I was saying weeks ago that this whole situation with Brees contract and how it will cripple the franchise financially will be the downfall of the Saints in 2012, now add into the equation "bountygate" and you have a perfect storm of chaos. The Saints will not be the usual powerhouse team next year. I predict a very mediocre year for the Saints. 8-8 at best. Lets not forget the Saints when 8-8 as recently as 2008. Count on it happening again this season.
Which brings me to our beloved Carolina Panthers. My fellow Panthers fans. It's our time. We paid our dues in 2011, passed all the tests, worked hard, played by the rules and have been through the ringer. We have our franchise QB who just so happened have the best NFL rookie season ever, he will be a year wiser, this offense will be a year wiser and most importantly our offensive coaching staff will be intact. With a good defensive focus draft, Jon Beason, Thomas Davis and Ron Edwards returning, our D will be vastly improved. Do the math. Top 5 offense that will have quite possibly a top 15 defense. Barring a catastrophe, we are all but guaranteed a playoff spot this season and frankly the NFC south is ours to lose this coming season. My prediction; 12-4, NFC South champions.