The NFC South 2019-20 NFL Season

The NFC South is always good for some interesting battles, and a well rested Drew Brees and his New Orleans Saints are ready to take on a much-healed Atlanta Falcons roster, a Carolina Panthers team with a healthy Cam Newton under center, and a newly led Tampa Bay Buccaneers group that has many wondering if the NFC South is where all the 2019 NFL action is at, so we take a look at the history of this division and the odds and predictions of its teams this year.

When you look at how the NFC South has shaped up since the end of last season, it isn’t farfetched to imagine at least two of these teams making it to the postseason in 2019.

Drew Brees and his New Orleans Saints are, well, Brees and his Saints, but this season they’ll face a healthy Atlanta Falcons roster that’s ripe for some big wins, a Carolina Panthers roster that’s led by a healthy (thereby dangerous) Cam Newton, and a talented Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster that’s being led by the brilliant (and un-retired) Bruce Arians.

It’s going to be fun to watch a healthy NFC South rumble and scramble right up to the finish of this season, and here we take a look at the odds and predictions of this division’s 2019.

Want more NFL 2019-20 predictions? Then check out our articles covering the AFC EastAFC WestAFC NorthAFC SouthNFC East and NFC North.

For the NFL newbies, what exactly is the NFC South?

If you’re just learning about the NFL, here’s a quick primer on how the league divides its teams based on the regions where each resides in order to build a balanced and fair schedule.

The National Football League (NFL) formed in 1920 and faced competition from many other leagues until 1966, when the NFL finally merged with the fourth American Football League (AFL) and held the very first Super Bowl at the end of that season.

Beginning in 2002, after realigning and adding some expansion teams over the years, the NFL now has thirty-two teams that are split into two conferences, the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC).

Each of those two conferences is then split up into four divisions – North, South, East and West – with four teams in each, and in this article, we will be focusing on the NFC South, which officially began in 2002 when the NFL split into eight divisions.

The NFC South is made up of three teams that had previously belonged to the NFC West (Falcons, Panthers and Saints) and one team (Buccaneers) that was part of the AFC West and NFC Central.

The teams of the NFC South are:

  1. Atlanta Falcons, who play at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia
  2. Carolina Panthers, who play at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina
  3. New Orleans Saints, who play at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who play at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida

Which team has the most Divisional titles since 1970?

Since 1970, the New Orleans Saints have won the most divisional titles (7):

  • NFC West titles – 2
  • NFC South titles – 5

The Atlanta Falcons are tied with the other two teams with 6 divisional titles each:

  • NFC West titles – 2
  • NFC South titles – 4

The Carolina Panthers are also tied with 6 divisional titles:

  • NFC West titles – 1
  • NFC South titles – 5

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also tied with 6 divisional titles:

  • NFC Central titles – 3
  • NFC South titles – 3

Which NFC South team has the most Lombardi Trophies?

The NFC South is the only division since the 2002 realignment to have each of its teams make a conference championship game appearance as well as a Super Bowl appearance

The New Orleans Saints have won one NFC championship and turned it into a Super Bowl win: XLIV in 2009.

The Tampa Bay Bucs have also won one NFC championship and turned it into a Super Bowl win: XXXVII in 2002.

Next are the Atlanta Falcons, who won two NFC championships but couldn’t turn either of them into a Super Bowl win.

Last are the Carolina Panthers, who also won two NFC championships and couldn’t turn either of them into a Super Bowl win.

How many Super Bowl rings has the NFC South won?

The NFL divisions with the least amount of Super Bowl rings are the NFC and AFC South, with just two Super Bowl rings apiece.

The NFL division with the most Lombardi trophies is the NFC East, with a combined thirteen Super Bowl Championships.

The NFC has won 27 total Super Bowls, while the AFC has won 26.

How did the NFC South do in 2018?

 New Orleans Saints* 13 3 0
 Atlanta Falcons 7 9 0
 Carolina Panthers 7 9 0
 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5 11 0

*Clinched Homefield Advantage

The NFC South only produced one playoff team in the 2018-19 season, and the New Orleans Saints not only received the first seed but also earned homefield advantage throughout the playoffs until the Super Bowl.

The Saints defeated the Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 20-14, which got them to the NFC Championship round for the first time since they went to (and won) Super Bowl XLIV in 2009.

Then the unthinkable happened when a missed blatant pass interference call kept the Saints from advancing to the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history, that call becoming the impetus for the league to change how referees handle missed calls in the future.

For more on that controversial subject, check out our earlier coverage:

What are the odds and predictions of the NFC South in 2019?

Of the four NFC South teams, the Saints currently have the best odds of winning the Super Bowl next season (+900), next are the Falcons (+2500), then it’s the Panthers (+5000) and the Bucs are last (+6600).

When it comes to the NFC Championship, the Saints are the NFC overall favorites (+375), with the Falcons next (+1200), then the Panthers (+2500) and finally the Buccaneers (+3000).

Here’s how the NFC South is predicted to rank during the 2019-20 season, including the odds of who will end up in first place of the division:

4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sportsbook NFC South Division Winner Link
888Sport NJ +1100

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

The 2019-20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcomed the struggling franchise’s fifth new head coach since Jon Gruden’s reign ended in 2009, that long decade since filled with zero NFC South Championships and zero playoff appearances.

Television broadcaster Bruce Arians un-retired from head coaching (after proving to doctors he was healthy enough) to take over the reins in Tampa, and if he can do for the Bucs what he did for the Arizona Cardinals, which was get them to an NFC Championship, statues of Arians will be erected across most of western Florida.

The majority of general manager Jason Licht’s free agency moves this offseason were on the defensive side of the ball, signing linebackers Shaquil Barrett, Deone Bucannon, Corey Nelson and Hunter Dimick, plus selecting first round (5th pick overall) LSU linebacker Devin White, so now new coordinator Todd Bowles has a chance to improve on a defense ranked 27th last season.

Newly hired offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is tasked with elevating the play of franchise quarterback Jameis Winston after his 2018 season that only included 9 starts and low stats (2,992 total passing yards, 19 touchdowns, 14 interceptions) due to suspension and competition from backup / other starter Ryan “FitzMagic” Fitzpatrick.

For more details, please check out our earlier coverage:  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Biggest Offseason Moves 2019 - Odds and Predictions

3) Carolina Panthers

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Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney spent the offseason trying to turn his struggling franchise around after they posted a 7-9 record during the 2018 season, making it the fifth time during head coach Ron Rivera’s eight year tenure that the team has won just seven games or less.

Hurney signed free agent center Matt Paradis to fill the giant shoes of retiring Panther hero Ryan Kalil and released his younger brother offensive tackle Matt Kalil, ending the unique run of the third set of brothers to play on the same NFL line and the first pair to do it in almost a quarter of a century.

In the draft, Hurney selected a quarterback in the third round, Will Grier of West Virginia, but by all accounts, franchise man Cam Newton is healthy after suffering a bum shoulder most of last season and ready for offensive coordinator Norv Turner to help elevate his game.

Last season the Panthers had a tenth ranked offense, thanks in part to soft-handed running back Christian McCaffrey, who had 326 touches and 1,965 total yards from scrimmage with 13 touchdowns to his name, and the third-year Second-team All-Pro back will be healthy and ready to go for 2019.

For more details, please check out our earlier coverage: The Carolina Panthers' Biggest Offseason Moves 2019 - Odds and Predictions

2) Atlanta Falcons

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* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

The Atlanta Falcons went 3-0 against three weak teams to end the season, but it was a bright spot on a season marred with injury after injury to starters, and though their final record of 7-9 didn’t reflect the talent level of their roster, a clean sweep was made and all three coordinators were fired.

Healed up and rested, consider the Falcons’ current offensive weapons – under center is veteran All-Pro quarterback (and former NFL MVP) Matt Ryan with a new and improved front line, and his main targets are one of the league’s best receivers, Julio Jones, lining up with Mohamed Sanu, All-Rookie Calvin Ridley and the league’s fourth best tight end last season, Austin Hooper.

Then consider their defense, ranked 5th overall last season and now with newly signed tackle Tyeler Davison, who last season in 14 games with New Orleans made 23 tackles (2 for loss), 5 quarterback hits, 2 sacks, a pass defended and a forced fumble.

The only reason the Falcons are ranked second in the NFC South is because they share the division with the Super Bowl bound New Orleans Saints, but if they stay healthy in Atlanta (not a given), expect this team to give Drew Brees’ squad a run for their money.

For more details, please check out our earlier coverage: The Atlanta Falcons' Biggest Offseason Moves 2019 - Odds and Predictions

New Orleans Saints

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* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

The New Orleans Saints have been to three of the last six post seasons, and in franchise quarterback (and future Hall of Famer) Drew Brees’ thirteen season rein under center, they’ve played football in January seven times, including snagging a Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl XLIV in 2009.

Point is, expect them to be back in the postseason at the end of the 2019 regular season, with an offense enhanced by the signing of running back Latavius Murray, tight end Jared Cook and center Nick Easton.

The Saints’ fourteenth ranked defense needed a bit of help, and general manager Mickey Loomis made a few moves in that direction this offseason, signing defensive tackle Malcom Brown and adding depth in the line with defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. and in the secondary by drafting Florida safety Chauncey Garner-Johnson in the fourth round (105th pick overall).

Brees definitely wants another Lombardi Trophy (like the Super Bowl Champ / MVP and 12x Pro Bowler and 2x Offensive Player of the Year really needs more awards in his man cave), but true champions fight until their final battle, and if the forty-year-old gunslinger from Austin, Texas (by way of Purdue) can sustain his arm strength for seventeen weeks plus the postseason, Brees very well might just add to his ever growing collection of NFL plunder.

For more details, please check out our earlier coverage: The New Orleans Saints' Biggest Offseason Moves And 2019 Odds And Predictions

NFL 2020 Championship Winning Division

Sportsbook Division Odds Link
DraftKings AFC West +440
DraftKings AFC East +550
DraftKings NFC South +550
DraftKings NFC West +575
DraftKings AFC North +625
DraftKings NFC North +625
DraftKings NFC East +650
DraftKings AFC South +675

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

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