The 2020 NFL season will kick-off on September 10 with numerous teams across the United States believing they can win the Super Bowl at the end of the campaign.
NFC South is likely to attract plenty of attention, with the Tampa Buccaneers a popular pick with punters after signing star quarterback Tom Brady.
The Bucs are priced at odds of 14/1 to win the NFL’s biggest prize and those odds will be slashed if they get off to a strong start.
Read on as we assess the quartet of teams in NFC South and predict who we think are the most likely contenders for success.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers will head into the campaign with a target on their backs after adding Brady to their roster this summer.
There are plenty of respected pundits who think that the 43-year-old is past his best and he will be eager to prove them wrong.
The Bucs have reached the play-offs just twice since 2002 and a 7-9 record last season doesn’t immediately scream ‘future Super Bowl winners’.
However, the Bucs have plenty of attacking talent at their disposal and if everything clicks into place they could be dangerous opponents when the play-offs come around.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints have dominated NFC South over the past three years, but that hasn’t translated into post-season success just yet.
They have gone 37-11 over the past three regular seasons, before suffering heart-breaking defeats in the play-offs against Minnesota Vikings (twice) and Los Angeles Rams.
The Saints possess one of the most prolific offenses in the league, while the ability of their defensive unit is often underestimated.
A season opener against the Buccaneers will give both teams the chance to lay down an early marker and set the tone for the rest of the campaign.
After failing to progress to the play-offs for the past two seasons, the Falcons will be desperate to make their presence felt this time around.
Dan Quinn’s team finished last season in good form, going 6-2 during the second half of the campaign to spark talk that the franchise is on the way back.
The signing of running back Todd Gurley has ramped up expectations in Atlanta, although his troublesome knee will need to be carefully managed by the club’s fitness department.
The former Rams star is one of the best in the business when he is fully fit and could prove to be the difference for the Rams this season.
The Panthers reached the Super Bowl back in 2015, but things have regressed significantly in Carolina since then.
The team finished bottom of NFC South with a 5-11 record last season and the franchise is very much in ‘rebuild mode’ right now.
The decision to allow quarterback Cam Newton to leave is a step in the right direction, giving the Panthers more wriggle room from a salary cap perspective.
It would be no surprise to see the Panthers struggle again this season, particularly with their defensive unit lacking experience and depth.
NFC South Prediction: The divisional title is likely to be a straight shoot-out between the Saints and the Bucs, with the former looking a good bet to claim top spot.