Is there another division in the NFL with more excitement and anticipation heading into the 2020 regular season than the NFC South? And, no, it’s not because Teddy Bridgewater went to the Carolina Panthers.
The hype is all about the greatest QB of all-time Tom Brady leaving the New England Patriots to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back to prominence and his BFF Rob Gronkowski coming out of retirement to join him.
For the NFC South, the entire season will be about whether or not Tom Brady can guide the Bucs past the New Orleans Saints for the divisional crown.
Although there are two other teams in the division, the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers, this is clearly a two horse race.
Currently, NFL betting sites have the Saints as the slight favorites to win the NFC South. Let’s huddle up and explore these NFL betting odds and see if we should place our money on the Saints or the Bucs.
The following betting odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
New Orleans Saints (-105)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+125)
Atlanta Falcons (+1000)
Carolina Panthers (+1800)
New Orleans Saints (-105)
Over 10.5 wins (-115)
Under 10.5 wins (-115)
The New Orleans Saints are the reigning NFC South champs and they are poised to win it again. Their offseason was a success considering they didn’t have many needs, but still added talent to the roster.
The Saints are led by QB Drew Brees with the exciting Taysom Hill as the all-purpose backup. Yet, the Saints brought in Jameis Winston as a 3rd quarterback with an eye towards the future.
They have the same level of talent in the backfield and along the offensive line, but they did add some weapons this offseason with running back/wide receiver Ty Montgomery and WR Emmanuel Sanders. The perfect example of how the rich get richer.
Another example is how the team added LB Nigel Bradham to an already stacked linebacker group. He brings additional experience, leadership and depth to what could be a Top 10 defense this year.
New Orleans has one of the most complete rosters in the entire NFL with no glaring weaknesses. It’s Super Bowl or bust for this team.
New Orleans Saints Season Schedule
Right out of the gate, the Saints will take on Brady and the Bucs in what should be an exciting matchup. I give the edge to New Orleans. From there, they play the Raiders, Packers, Lions and Chargers. The Saints could go 5-0 heading into their Bye Week. At worst, they’re 4-1.
Following the bye, New Orleans faces the Panthers, Bears, Bucs and 49ers. I see a 2-2 stretch here unless they can get revenge on the 49ers from last year’s epic game.
The next three games are all winnable as they take on Atlanta twice and Denver in-between. I like New Orleans to go 3-0 here and have a 9-3 record heading into the final month of the season.
The Saints wrap up the 2020 regular season with games against the Eagles, Chiefs, Vikings and Panthers. I see a 3-1 stretch that should leave New Orleans with a 12-4 record on the year.
Last season, the Saints were 13-3. So, one less loss isn’t a big deal. However, they also have a ceiling of going 14-2. Either way, take the Over 10.5 wins as this is one of the best teams in the NFL.
New Orleans has won the NFC South seven times since the division was created in 2002, including three seasons in a row.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+125)
Over 9.5 wins (-150)
Under 9.5 wins (+120)
Not since their Super Bowl win in 2002 have things been this exciting in Tampa. The arrival of Tom Brady has led many fans and pundits to declare that the Buccaneers are a Super Bowl contender.
There is some substance to these claims and it’s largely due to the moves the team has made because of Brady’s arrival.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought in Brady’s BFF Rob Gronkowski who was retired from football last year. They also added OT Joe Haeg from the Colts and RB LeSean McCoy from the Chiefs.
In the 2020 NFL Draft, the Bucs added another OT in Trist Wirfs as the team clearly wanted to upgrade the offensive line to make sure they protected “TB 12.”
In the 2nd round they added S Antoine Winfield Jr. who will join a talented defense that was great against the run last year, but bad against the pass.
The Bucs have plenty of firepower on offense and could end up being one of the Top 3 offenses in the NFL with Tom Brady, Gronk, Chris Godwin, Vince Evans and Ronald Jones II.
Defensively, they have plenty of playmakers at each level like Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea on the d-line, Devin White and Shaq Barrett at LB, and Carlton Davis at CB.
However, with an offense that won’t turn the ball over at a record rate like Winston and company did last year, I expect the defense to see a bump in many of the major statistical categories.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Season Schedule
The first month of the season will see the Bucs play the Saints, Panthers, Broncos and Chargers. I believe Tampa will go 3-1 as I give the Saints the edge in the opening week.
The next four game stretch consists of matchups against the Bears, Packers, Raiders and Giants. At worse, Tampa goes 3-1. However, if they beat the Packers then they will be 4-0.
The third month will see the Bucs take on the Saints, Panthers, Rams and Chiefs as they finally head into their Bye Week. I believe Tampa gets revenge against the Saints as they also beat both the Panthers and Rams. However, I see Kansas City getting the win. Tampa could be 9-3 heading into their bye.
Following the Bye Week, Tampa finishes the season with games against Minnesota, Detroit, and two versus Atlanta. I like the team to go 3-1 as they could drop one of the two games against Atlanta who tend to play Tampa tough.
Ultimately, Tampa Bay should have at least 10 wins on the season and easily cover the O/U of 9.5 wins. I can see them finishing 11-5 or 12-4 with Brady in charge.
The Bucs have won three NFC South titles since 2002, but haven’t captured the division crown since 2007.
Atlanta Falcons (+1000)
Over 7.5 wins (-130)
Under 7.5 wins (+100)
It wasn’t too long ago that the Atlanta Falcons made it all the way to the Super Bowl, but lost in OT to Tom Brady and the Patriots. Unfortunately, things have gone downhill for the Falcons since then including two straight losing seasons.
It’s hard to get overly excited for Atlanta this year as they seemed to have lost more talent than they brought in. The Falcons lost starters on both sides of the ball like CB Desmond Trufant, RB Devonta Freeman, DE Vic Beasley and TE Austin Hooper.
They brought in DE Dante Fowler, TE Hayden Hurst, and RB Todd Gurley to replace their losses. However, Gurley is a big red flag as many critics are concerned over his health. The former top RB in the NFL has suffered from knee issues the last two years.
Yet, if Gurley can get back near 100%, he definitely helps to open up this offense which is bad news for the rest of the division. Unfortunately, that is a big “if.”
Atlanta added some talent in the draft with CB A.J. Terrell, DL Marlon Davidson, and C Matt Hennessy. Yet, I don’t see any of their top draft picks making too much of an impact this year to the point where they will help the team win more games.
Atlanta Falcons Season Schedule
Atlanta opens their season with a tough first month as they take on Seattle, Dallas, Chicago and Green Bay. At best, they go 1-3. More than likely, they will end up 0-4.
The Falcons then play the Panthers twice, Vikings, Lions and Broncos. They could get three wins out of this stretch and head into their Bye Week at 3-6 overall.
Following the bye, I see Atlanta finishing the season with a lot of disappointment and possibly end up costing their head coach his job. Atlanta plays the Saints twice, Bucs twice, the Chiefs, Raiders and Chargers. At best, it’s a 3-4 record. At worse, it’s a 1-6 record to close out the season.
The O/U is 7.5 wins and I think the Falcons will come in Under that mark. I don’t see them finishing higher than 7-9. In fact, a 5-11 or 6-10 season seems likely. Their defense will be a liability and I just can’t put my faith in Gurley’s knee.
Atlanta has won the NFC South four times, with the last divisional title coming in 2016 when they went to the Super Bowl.
Carolina Panthers (+1800)
Over 5.5 wins (-120)
Under 5.5 wins (-110)
No other team in the NFL had a bigger change of identity than the Carolina Panthers. It all started with the hiring of new head coach Matt Rhule. From there, they added new coordinators, positional coaches and plenty of roster maneuvers.
With so many changes, we’ll focus only on the major transactions from each side of the ball.
Offensively, the Panthers lost Cam Newton and a few offensive linemen. But, they did add Teddy Bridgewater to be the starting QB and also signed WR Robby Anderson from the Jets.
Anderson joins DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel to provide Bridgewater with a strong trio of receivers. Additionally, the Panthers have the best dual threat RB in the NFL with Christian McCaffrey poised for another big season.
Where there’s hope on the offense, the defense looks more depressing. They lost LB Luke Kuechly, CB James Bradberry, DE Mario Addison, DE Bruce Irvin, DT Gerald McCoy, DT Dontari Poe, DT Vernon Butler, CB Ross Cockrell, and S Eric Reid.
Although they added DT Derrick Brown, DE Yetur Gross-Matos and S Jeremy Chinn in the first two rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft, this defense is young and will be outmatched most weekends.
With that said, I like the building blocks they have moving forward. Give Rhule and company another offseason to add talent ant the Panthers will be a winning team in 2021.
Carolina Panthers Season Schedule
I like the potential for this offense, but I don’t like the reality of this young defense for 2020. With that in mind, I see the Carolina Panthers being one of the worst teams in the NFL in regards to their overall record.
The O/U is set at 5.5 wins, but I can’t even see how they will get 5 wins on the season. So, go with the Under as it’s a guarantee that they will finish below 6-10.
Looking at their schedule, Carolina will lose to the Raiders, Bucs, Chargers, and Cardinals to start off the year. Then they will drop games against the Falcons, Bears, and Saints. However, they might be able to split with Atlanta over this stretch. At the halfway point, Carolina will be 1-7.
The Panthers then play the Chiefs, Bucs, Lions and Vikings. That’s a 1-3 stretch at best. Carolina will head into their Bye Week at 2-10.
The final month of the season consists of matchups against the Broncos, Packers, Washington and the Saints. That’s a 1-3 record to close out the season, which leaves Carolina at 3-13 or 4-12 at best.
I’m a fan of Matt Rhule, but they’re clearly just starting out in this rebuild process and I believe the defense needs more time to grow. Carolina needs to acquire a few more pieces before the Panthers can be a winning franchise again.
Carolina has won the NFC South five times with the last divisional title coming in 2015 when the Panthers went to the Super Bowl and lost to Denver.
Who Wins the NFC South in 2020?
As mentioned in the opening of this article, the division is a two horse race between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both the Falcons and the Panthers will finish with losing records and most likely get swept by the Saints and Bucs.
Between New Orleans and Tampa Bay, I have to give the edge to the Saints. They have a more complete roster and more continuity.
Tampa still has to teach some of their young players what it’s like to win. Brady will set the standard, but it will take some time for the team to gel especially without any preseason games.
New Orleans returns most of their team from last year and really doesn’t need a preseason like Tampa, Carolina or Atlanta does. The Saints have arguably the most complete roster in the NFC and will challenge the 49ers for the NFC championship.
Who Wins the NFC South in 2020? –New Orleans Saints (-105)
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed “King of the Blog” in his first year with the site. …