NFC South Power Rankings

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Since Free Agency has come to a stall, and I don’t feel like looking at more draft prospects; it’s time to take a quick stock of the NFC South to this point.

Jan 14, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton watches from the sideline during the fourth quarter of the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Saints 36-32. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

1. New Orleans Saints

They lost Carl Nicks- to a team in the division, no less- but they still have one of the better offensive lines in the NFL and a terrific passing game. Sure they lost Robert Meachem, but they can cope without the underachieving wide receiver, and they did well to ink Marques Colston to a lucrative deal. The Saints still need to get a deal done with Drew Brees, but that’s the least of their worries right now. Here’s the thing with the whole Sean Payton suspension; it doesn’t hurt the Saints that much this season. It hurts them a little, but they already know the scheme that Payton runs and Pete Carmichael isn’t going to divert from it. The coaching staff is more than adequate, and what it comes down to for the Saints is their LBs. It’s no secret that their linebackers stink, and Curtis Lofton would be a tremendous upgrade over Jonathan “Superglued to Blocker” Vilma. The two major weaknesses are at linebacker and a lack of a pass rusher aside from Will “I’ll mail in this play” Smith.

2. Atlanta Falcons

Is Lofa Tatupu really Curtis Lofton’s replacement? He’s better in coverage and has the cooler name, but he’s also much worse against the run and isn’t up to Lofton’s loftier standards. Atlanta needs to win a playoff game, because that front office is only getting more pressure with every postseason loss. To me, this team needs to shore up things up on the offensive line and add another corner; Dunta Robinson has an ugly contract. The worst thing about this team is their line, because everything else checks out. They have an elite pass rush with three top ends, a nice LB core, a shutdown corner, enough talent at safety, and a prolific offensive attack when looking at the skill positions. However, Sam Baker is an appallingly bad (will always remember the Trent Cole game last season) left tackle, and Will Svitek isn’t the answer either and looks overwhelmed.

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Tags: Atlanta Falcons Carl Nicks Carolina Panthers Curtis Lofton DeAngelo Williams Drew Brees Dunta Robinson Eric Wright Jeremy Trueblood Jonathan Stewart Jonathan Vilma Lofa Tatupu Marques Colston Mike Tolbert New Orleans Saints NFC South Pete Carmichael Robert Meachem Sam Baker Sean Payton Tampa Bay Buccaneers Trent Cole Vincent Jackson Will Smith Will Svitek