The days of the Buccaneers finishing without the NFC South title are over.
As the indisputable best team in the NFL until August, the Buccaneers are currently the best team in the NFC South. Upset Saints fans may try to dispute this fact, but the Lombardi Trophy outweighs the NFC Championship every day of the week, and Tampa Bay is in a great position to win that much smaller honor in the upcoming seasons.
The NFC South hasn’t been friendly to the Buccaneers in recent seasons. The Saints have been a dominant force under Sean Payton and Drew Brees, and the Panthers and Falcons have fielded MVP quarterbacks at various points.
The Bucs were stuck with mediocre players and mediocre coaches, but all that is over now. The current coaching staff is top-notch, and Tom Brady has been a dramatic improvement at the quarterback position. The rest of the NFC South has seen what the Bucs can do when they’re clicking, and their positions moving forward are dire.
The Buccaneers are in a better spot than the rest of the NFC South
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The Falcons have an aging Matt Ryan under center who can’t seem to catch a break. The coaching staff in Atlanta has been a significant hindrance in recent years, and the current administration doesn’t seem like a major step in the right direction.
Atlanta’s offense is always sure to be a high-powered unit, but the defense is far from being good enough to carry its weight.
The Panthers may be closer than the Falcons, but they still have many struggles. Teddy Bridgewater is a consistent quarterback, but his ceiling isn’t high enough to make the Panthers a dominant force.
Carolina’s defense still needs starters at key positions going into 2021, but they could land a big free-agent quarterback if the cards fall their way, and that could make them more dangerous than they currently are.
Finally, the Saints are about to hit a massive brick wall. Coming in at tens of millions of dollars above the salary cap, New Orleans will look very different in 2021 if they want to get beneath the cap ceiling.
This process will lead to many big-name departures, and the years of going all-in have finally come back to bite the Saints after another postseason disappointment.
In addition to shrinking cap space, the Saints have a much more pressing issue at hand. Even with three quarterbacks on the roster, there isn’t a clear starting quarterback in New Orleans. Taysom Hill is currently the highest-paid QB on the roster, but he is good for maybe four plays during the game.
Newcomer Jameis Winston impressed enough to get fewer snaps than the gadget quarterback that can’t throw the ball 20 yards down the field. To make matters worse, Drew Brees, who is coming off of one of the least impressive seasons of his career, is apparently not a sure departure.
The Saints can pick their poison, but Hill can’t throw, Brees can’t stay healthy, and the Bucs would be happy to catch some more passes from Jameis Winston. The dominant days of the Saints may have come to a close.
Division games are never easy, but based on these teams’ current predicaments; the Buccaneers are in a great position to take full control of the NFC South in 2021 and beyond.
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