In 2022, the NFC South was arguably the worst division in football. The winners of the division had a losing record with 8-9, and it was the Tom Brady led Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, a productive offseason from the teams in the NFC South makes it one of the more exciting divisions in the NFL.
It was the Carolina Panthers who have had the most turnover. Knowing they had the number one
overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft, they knew they had to surround him with good pieces and put him in the best position to win. The Panthers go into the new season with a new head coach FrankReich and six new starters on offense, five of which are skill positions.
Prior to drafting quarterback Bryce Young, the Panthers went to work in free agency. They brought
in two starting-caliber wide receivers Adam Thielen and DJ Chark along with tight end Hayden
Hurst and running back Miles Sanders. If coach Reich can get all these pieces to gel and play together as a unit, the Panthers can win a lot of games next season.
The New Orleans Saints had an unusually mediocre season in 2022. Even though they had one of the better defenses in the league, they struggled mightily on offense. The Saints ranked in the bottom 10 of most offensive categories last season. But a lot of that can be attributed to injuries to key players and no stable quarterback.
In 2023, they will hope that new quarterback Derek Carr will be able to stabilize things at the position and for star wide receiver Michael Thomas to stay healthy and be a factor. If the Saints can continue to impose themselves on defense and improve their offense, they can be a real contender to win the division.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers probably won’t be in with a chance to compete and it’s mainly because
Baker Mayfield will be their starting quarterback. However, they do still have the core that won
the Super Bowl just two years ago and if they can reach that level on defense, they are good enough to beat anyone.
But the most improved team in the division is the Atlanta Falcons. Arguably the most improved team in the league, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Falcons signed Jessie Bates and traded for Jeff Okudah to join a defensive backfield that already had AJ Terrell. They have also added veteran linemen Calais Campbell and David Onyemata. The Falcons’ defense will no longer be a push over.
However, it all depends on the development of second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder. He
started the final four games and looked good as the Falcons went 2-2. They also drafted running
back Bijan Robinson who is a home run threat every time he touches the ball.
The Falcons are probably slight favorites to take the division, but every team in the NFC South will
be betting on themselves to take the division. All the team (apart from the Buccaneers) have
improved, so it will come down to who will execute.