Falcons are already being picked to win the NFC South over Buccaneers after signing Kirk Cousins

Well that didn't take very long.
Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

We're just a few days into the offseason and already the moves being made are shaping how some experts view the league's landscape.

Nobody has ever won a Lombardi Trophy in March, but that's not stopping some from already predicting that the Atlanta Falcons will come out on top of the NFC South next season. It would mark only the second time this decade that a team other than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has won the division, but apparently, the Falcons signing Kirk Cousins has already elevated them in the eyes of some.

Cousins agreed to a four-year, $180 million deal with the Falcons mere hours after the legal tampering period opened. It ended weeks of growing speculation that he'd leave the Vikings and cash in somewhere else, with Atlanta being the favorite.

It seems that was merely the beginning of the Falcons being favorites.

Falcons are already being picked to win the NFC South over Buccaneers after signing Kirk Cousins

In what will likely be the first of many experts predicting the same thing, former NFL GM Rick Spielman went on Sirius XM Radio and said the Falcons are the 'lead dog' to win the NFC South next season.

"[Zac Robinson's] system fits identical to what Kirk Cousins' strengths are. Look at what Kevin O'Connell did with him up in Minnesota. Everything's from the pocket, quick processor, makes quick decisions, accurate thrower," Spielman said. "Getting Kirk Cousins into Atlanta makes them the lead dog next year to win the NFC South.

Spielman also cited the weapons that Cousins will have to throw to, from Drake London to Kye Pitts and Bijan Robinson, which will become a common refrain when arguing why the Falcons are everyone's favorite on paper.

Atlanta is an objectively scary team on paper, especially since they showed such bright flashes last season despite how Arthur Smith and bad quarterback play held them back. Cousins established in Minnesota that he's a mid-to-upper quarterback who can elevate an offense just enough to be good but not enough to be great.

We're going to find out if that was more on the Vikings or Cousins, as he unquestionably has talent around him unlike ever before in his career.

The NFC South belongs to the Bucs until it doesn't, though.

Nobody gave them a chance last year, and the result was Tampa Bay winning its third straight division title. The Bucs finished the year with a Top 10 defense, had a Pro Bowl quarterback, and are bringing back the best wide receiver in the division -- if not the league.

Atlanta will be better, and if the Bucs get caught napping then they'll be forced to pay for it. The race to watch in the South, though, might be whether the Falcons can finish higher than the Saints rather than the Bucs.

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