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Muscle Sport Magazine

2014 NFL Preview: NFC South

The two burning questions in this division are if the Panthers are really that good and the Falcons that bad. Carolina surprised everyone by winning 12 games and finishing on top, while Atlanta – who was expected to be a playoff contender – had the opposite record and ended up tied with the Bucs in the basement.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

2013: 11-5, Prediction: 10-6

One of the more successful teams in the league of late, the Saints are led by Drew Brees and his explosive offense. Their revamped defense is improved and this is a team that plays exceptionally well at home (8-0 in 2013). They should be able to repeat as division winners.

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ATLANTA FALCONS

2013: 4-12, Prediction: 9-7

They need to completely turn the page on a brutal 2014. Matt Ryan has a boatload of talent, as well as an arsenal around him. This was a team many were picking to make the Super Bowl not too long ago so let’s not forget what they are capable of, even with the retirement of perennial Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

2013: 12-4, Prediction: 9-7

Cam Newton led this team to an unlikely divisional crown, especially after their slow start. Will they go 7-1 at home again? Hard to say but Ron Rivera will have the defense rarin’ to go each week and they will play well, just not as well.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 

2013: 4-12, Prediction: 6-10

Give new head coach Lovie Smith a little time. This was a team that had a brutal 2013, stating with the ugly divorce of starting quarterback Josh Freeman and then the firing of former coach Greg Schiano. Is Josh McCown the real deal? He’ll get his shot.

Photo by William J. Hauser

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