Much like Prince at a club in the 80’s, this division bores me. There is one good team and three teams that are already building their draft boards for next season. The Super Bowl champions reside in this division. But so does a team that decided to embark on the Sam Darnold Reclamation Project. Jameis is back! But so is Matt Ryan 😦
Well, it’s almost over at least. Both the anticipation for the rest of the season and me having to pretend to be excited to write about some of these teams. Lets get on with it. The NFC South, everyone.
Team: New Orleans Saints
2020 Record: 12-4
Coach: Sean Payton
Key Additions: Nope. Welcome to salary cap hell.
Key Losses: Drew Brees, Trey Hendrickson
Well, well, well. The rooster has finally come to roost. Or something like that. After years of treating the salary cap like a game of three card monty, the team was finally forced to lose a number of players that were key to their 12 win season last year. They have 35 million in dead cap hits this season, and will be up against the salary cap next year, two years after their greatest player of all time has retired. Their cap tricks have basically left them stuck with broken down wide receiver for at least two more years due to the nearly 60 million dead money cap hit he exists as over the next two seasons. Thomas also waited forever to get surgery on his foot, quite possibly doing so knowing the dead cap money situation, and that he was getting paid this year regardless of whether he played and who was the quarterback.
At quarterback, Drew Brees has left a legacy as the greatest player in team history, but also as a guy who lost playoff games in various backbreaking ways. Remember the Minnesota miracle? Replacing him is ::in full Jim Ross mode:: BAHHH GAWD, THAT’S JAMEIS WINSTON’S MUSIC!
While coach Sean Payton might try to get cute and have Taysom Hill out there, this is now Jameis’ team, and I am personally here for it. Jameis is essentially Brett Favre, but somehow more detestable off the field. He is an old school gunslinger who isn’t afraid to throw an interception or 30. He will win you as many games as he will lose you, but by god it will be fun, like watching roller coaster accidents on Youtube. Last year was a reminder how much we needed him. There was too much base level quarterback competency. We didn’t have anyone that was going to operate with the very specific skill set that Winston has. I’m personally glad to have him back in my life. So now they will probably end up starting Hill all season. Fuck Sean Payton, preemptively.
Do They Have a Chance to Win the Super Bowl: You would have to squint pretty damn hard to see a Super Bowl contender in this team.
Will They at Least be Entertaining: If you love to watch car crashes, or have Alvin Kamara on your fantasy team.
Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2020 Record: 11-5
Coach: Bruce Arians
Key Additions: Didn’t need to
Key Losses: They just went ahead and kept everyone that matters.
The NFL likes to pride itself on parity and the ability for 30 teams every year to potentially win the Super Bowl. The salary cap is set up so that teams can’t just keep the same players from a Super Bowl winning team. As soon as the puke is cleaned from the parade route, tough decisions need to be made. Whether it’s a right tackle who wants to be paid, or a top cornerback coming off a rookie deal, someone is bound to have to go.
But since the salary cap has more holes in it than John Wayne Gacy’s crawl space, the Bucs are bringing back a nearly completely intact team from last season. While that means they are bringing back the same team that managed to lose to a Bears team that had 35 total rushing yards and was quarterbacked by Nick Foles, but also the team that absolutely dismantled the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
The team is lead by noted nightshade plant avoider Tom Brady. Last year when I did these previews, I said that Tom Brady was done as a quarterback and that he was going to die on the field. So I was wrong about that. He did forget what down it was in a crucial drive on national television, and took more than a month to look comfortable quarterbacking in the pewter and orange (make him wear the creamsicle you cowards!), but Brady also proved that Bill Belichick is an asshole hack and that he was the reason for the Patriots success.
Brady should take his enormous net worth and buy out every billboard around whichever stadium the Patriots play/their owner gets happy endings in. On it should just be a picture of Brady in his Super Bowl ring with the Bucs. The Patriots couldn’t even make it to .500 in a division that included the Jets. Brady was getting drunk on a party boat with Gronk, celebrating the fact that they got to get out of that shithole state and continue to win. I know this is a Bucs thing, but fuck the Patriots, forever and always.
Nobody in the division has taken a real step up, and it could be argued that every team is worse than last year, except for the Bucs. There is no way they will be playing all of their starters over the final couple weeks of the season, because they should have the division and possibly even the one seed locked up by then.
Do They Have a Chance to Win the Super Bowl: As long as Tom Brady doesn’t encounter a tomato or eggplant.
Will They at Least be Entertaining: I guess.
Team: Carolina Panthers
2020 Record: 5-11
Coach: Matt Rhule
Key Additions: Sam Darnold, AJ Bouye, Haason Reddick, Cam Erving,
Key Losses: Teddy Bridgewater, Curtis Samuel
What is there really even to say about this team? They are pinning their hopes on Sam “Out with Mono” Darnold. Christian McCaffrey should be back, but his fantasy value could be clouded by the fact that he is now being coached by a guy who thinks Sam Darnold as a starting quarterback is a good idea. When a picture falls and glass breaks, you don’t put the goddamn picture back on the wall. Darnold is that broken as picture. At no point over his professional career did he display any level of mediocrity.
I just did a fantasy draft in which 12 teams had to pick 30 man rosters. Then, they couldn’t touch the team for the entire year. The computer just puts your highest scoring team each week as your roster. That means you want to have a few quarterbacks, just in case. 360 players got drafted. Sam Darnold was not. Everyone else knows that Beavis’ athletic brother was ruined by Adam Gase, but the Panthers actually gave up draft capital for him! They got rid of Teddy Bridgewater because they were so enamored with the idea of having a USC quarterback playing for them. The school that, in the past two decades, has given us Matt Leinart, Matt Barkley, Mark Sanchez, and Cody Kessler as their gift to the professional QB annals.
The rest of this team is whatever. They will not contend for anything but a high draft pick. Darnold’s crappiness will likely be the cause of McCaffrey on Injured Reserve again. I could probably name a number of players on their starting defense, but why do that to myself.
Do They Have a Chance to Win the Super Bowl: HA! Oh, abso-fucking-lutely no.
Will They at Least be Entertaining: Nope!
Team: Atlanta Falcons
2020 Record: 4-12
Coach: Arthur Smith
Key Additions: They didn’t sign anyone. Seriously. Their biggest acquisition was Cordarrelle Patterson for 3 million
Key Losses: Julio Jones, Alex Mack, Keanu Neal
I didn’t know a team could phone it in before training camp even started, but here we are. And they didn’t even phone it in right! They could have traded Matt Ryan for a first round pick or two and he could have become someone else’s problem. Instead, they kept him and got rid of possibly the greatest player in team history in Julio Jones. Now Jones is in Tennessee chasing a Super Bowl, and this team is actively trying to lose an ass kicking contest to a one legged man.
They used the 4th pick in the draft on a tight end. I don’t care if it’s the second coming of Travis Kelce that you are drafting, this team has so many problems, they literally just bought twelve thousand dollar rims to put on a Buick that is leaking oil everywhere and has a blown gasket and little fires keep coming from the spark plugs, and also there is no transmission in the car and there is a hole in the roof. You get what i’m saying? They just drafted a luxury item for a team that has major issues.
They weren’t going to win shit no matter who they drafted, but they would be closer to a Super Bowl with a marquee offensive tackle. Or, you know, a quarterback to replace their “I had one fluky year and that’s all the ownership team somehow remembers” Matt Ryan. Julio Jones has been my favorite player for year,s and I always had an impending sense of dread watching their games, especially when I needed a big fantasy game from Julio, because you knew, deep down in your heart, that would be the week that Matt Ryan would be hellbent on checkdowns and would ignore Jones entirely until the final two minutes of each half, at which point, he would just underthrow Julio over and over.
The defense gave up the most passing yards in the league last year. If you were wondering if they did anything to fix that…they did not.
Do They Have a Chance to Win the Super Bowl: 28-3
Will They at Least be Entertaining: Matt Ryan is the quarterbacking equivalent of paint drying, so no.