The NFC South was home to the Super Bowl champion in 2020 and sent two teams to the playoffs. Two years later, no team in the division posted a winning record.
Only one game separated the Buccaneers, Saints, Falcons and Panthers in the standings last season, and Tampa Bay finished first. Now, New Orleans is the betting favorite to win the NFC South title, followed by the Falcons and then the Panthers. The Buccaneers, who won it the last two years, have the longest odds following Tom Bradys retirement.
A case can be made for all four teams to have a shot at the division crown in 2023 and their odds are all relatively bunched up.
New Orleans Saints Odds to Win NFC South: +125
The Saints finished with their worst record since 2016 in coach Dennis Allens first season in charge. The biggest offseason change was at quarterback as Derek Carr is set to take over for Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston remains on the roster as the backup. New Orleans added running back Jamaal Williams, who led the NFL in rushing touchdowns last season, to the backfield with Alvin Kamara but didnt do much at wide receiver. In the draft, the front office focused on defense following the departure of linebackers Marcus Davenport and Kaden Ellis. The Saints added defensive tackle Bryan Breese and defensive end Isaiah Foskey to the front seven in the first two rounds. New Orleans still has a sound defense in place and figures to get better quarterback play out of Carr than any of its division opponents, which explains its status as the clear favorite.
Saints 2022 Record: 7–10
Saints Home Opponents: Falcons, Panthers, Bears, Lions, Jaguars, Giants, Buccaneers, Titans
Saints Away Opponents: Falcons, Panthers, Packers, Texans, Colts, Rams, Vikings, Patriots, Buccaneers
Atlanta Falcons Odds to Win NFC South: +260
The Falcons went 7–10 for the second season in a row and then spent a top-10 pick on a skill position player for the third straight year. Defense was Atlantas downfall, not offense, though generational running back prospect Bijan Robinson could take coach Arthur Smiths run-first scheme to the next level. Along with tight end Kyle Pitts and receiver Drake London, hes another high-draft capital target for second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke was also signed as a depth piece behind Ridder after Marcus Mariotas departure. The front office addressed its defensive concerns, too, with the addition of Kaden Elliss, linebacker Bud Dupree, defensive end Calais Campbell, defensive tackle David Onyemata, cornerback Jeff Okudah and safety Jessie Bates III. The Falcons were competitive for most of last season — it wouldnt take a massive leap for them to post their first winning season since 2017 given their offseason upgrades.
Falcons 2022 Record: 7–10
Falcons Home Opponents: Panthers, Saints, Buccaneers, Vikings, Packers, Texans, Colts, Commanders
Falcons Away Opponents: Panthers, Saints, Buccaneers, Bears, Lions, Jaguars, Titans, Cardinals, Jets
Carolina Panthers Odds to Win NFC South: +350
The Panthers will have an almost entirely new operation in 2023. Coach Frank Reich took the top job in the offseason and the team made a splash by trading up for the No. 1 pick, which it used to select quarterback Bryce Young. Hell be joining an offense flush with new faces: Running back Miles Sanders, receivers, Adam Thielen and D.J. Chark and tight end Hayden Hurst were all free agent pickups. Safety Vonn Bell was Carolinas marquee signing on defense. The only other No. 1 pick in franchise history was Cam Newton, who went on to win Rookie of the Year, but it would take a few seasons before he led his team to a postseason appearance. Given the state of the division, Young has the potential to do so in Year 1 if he catches on quickly.
Panthers 2022 Record: 7–10
Panthers Home Opponents: Falcons, Saints, Buccaneers, Packers, Vikings, Texans, Colts, Cowboys
Panthers Away Opponents: Falcons, Bears, Lions, Jaguars, Saints, Buccaneers, Titans, Seahawks, Dolphins.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds to Win NFC South: +550
Tom Bradys retirement seems to be final this time around, which means Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask will be taking over at quarterback for Tampa Bay. Mayfield was a free agent addition and Trask was the teams 2021 second-round pick whos hardly played across two NFL seasons. Whoever it is will be playing under new offensive coordinator Dan Canales, whos replacing Byron Leftwich. The backbone of the Super Bowl team is still there, though the notable offseason departures include guard Shaq Mason, cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting and running back Leonard Fournette. The Buccaneers have made the playoffs each of the last three seasons after a 12-year drought. Theyll be hard-pressed to make it four years in a row unless theres improvement on offense.
Buccaneers 2022 Record: 8–9
Buccaneers Home Opponents: Falcons, Panthers, Bears, Lions, Jaguars, Saints, Eagles, Titans
Buccaneers Away Opponents: Falcons, Bills, Panthers, Packers, Texans, Colts, Vikings, Saints, 49ers
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the National Council for Problem Gambling 1-800-522-4700.