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this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Crossing the Line: 2010 NFC South Predictions AUTHOR: Eric Quackenbush It’s that time. The time of year where I stake my reputation, my credibility — I love that one — gets called into question, and take heat from anyone who ...

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Old 05-16-2010, 10:30 PM   #1
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Vote 4 the team that u think will win the NFC South in 2010 here

Crossing the Line: 2010 NFC South Predictions

AUTHOR: Eric Quackenbush

It’s that time. The time of year where I stake my reputation, my credibility — I love that one — gets called into question, and take heat from anyone who disagrees with me. Not that I mind, because in the end, it’s a matter of opinion. And we all know what “they” say about opinions. With about 69 days remaining until training camp, I decided to make these predictions a little earlier than last year.

Unlike last year, I’m going to look at both sides of the coin, being both conservative with teams’ outcomes and liberal — I promise that in no way is this piece political, outside of the realm of football. I don’t get into the over-analytical, dissecting, chemical tests, and whatnot that real writers and such get involved with.

Instead, I’ll be going with the logical, not-so-factual approach — still reserved — which I used last year.

Last season, the division noticed a change, which once again was a worst-to-first as it’s been in years past. In 2008/2009, the division wrapped up with the Carolina Panthers on top, the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers sandwiched in the middle, while the New Orleans Saints brought up the rear in the division.

So which team, by the past trend should have finished atop the division in 2009? The Saints, of course — if you’re a bigger believer in trends and stuff that really has no bearing on how athletes play, coaches coach, and what events transpire during the offseason, but the Saints were the clear-cut winner of the division, and went on to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history.

The Falcons finished with their first back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history, while Carolina broke the trend of a losing season after a winning one, scraping by with mediocrity at 8-8.

The Bucs simply had a rough season. I won’t open old wounds.

Once again, this year looks to be different in the NFC South. The playing field has been leveled in a sense. The Saints lost some players to free agency, thus by statistics, should take them down a peg or two in terms of being a force of reckoning. Don’t get upset Saints fans, I’m not saying New Orleans is going to stink it up this year. No team can maintain a dominant force on a yearly basis. Too much changes in the NFL landscape during the offseason.

The Atlanta Falcons didn’t do much to improve it’s defensive secondary, but it maintains a stout offense with a healthy Michael Turner returning to the field for the 2010 campaign. The “Dirty Birds” drafted probably the most exciting linebacker of the draft in Sean Weatherspoon.

I really don’t know what the Buccaneers did during the draft. Prior to the draft, they decided to let wide receiver Antonio Bryant leave, later replacing him with an unproven rookie in Illinois’ Arrelious Benn. The Bucs still have a ways to go before they become serious contenders. Perhaps not as long as some might think; barring multiple miracles, I say on the outside of two years.

Which brings me to our Carolina Panthers. There’s a lot hanging in the balance of this delicate system. Depending on whose story you believe; John Fox’s future or lack thereof, a very young team where the average age dropped from 30’s-ish to like 25, uncertainty at quarterback, multiple unknowns beyond wide receiver Steve Smith, no bonafide run-stopper at the defensive tackle position, new Sam and Will linebackers, and semi-big shoes to fill at defensive end, where once stood Julius Peppers. But given the team’s offseason free agent moves, Carolina should have one heck of a return game on special teams. Oh yeah, and that “wasteland” at the tight end position. I know Carolina doesn’t have a Jeremy Shockey or Tony Gonzalez at tight end, but that was a low-blow dealt by Yahoo’s Jason Cole.

Now to the part that gets me in trouble every year: End-of-season predictions.

I’ll go from worst-to-first. Otherwise you won’t read which team finishes last if I go in the opposite order. I know I never do.

...

Read the rest and cast your votes here:

Crossing the Line: 2010 NFC South Predictions | Cat Crave | A Carolina Panthers blog
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Old 05-16-2010, 10:41 PM   #2
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Re: Vote 4 the team that u think will win the NFC South in 2010 here

I really don't see the Buc or the kitty cat being much better then they were last year. Saints, Falclowns battlling it out again
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:27 PM   #3
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Re: Vote 4 the team that u think will win the NFC South in 2010 here

the falclown's worry me the most, carolina's young, tampa's going to show some spurts. but everyone must pay attention to the falclowns. we will be there worst enemy as normal, but they will have blood in there eyes. that white haired lip biting coach they have will be planning lights out on us. they had some hurt players last game that were out and gave us fits, remember?
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Old 05-17-2010, 01:06 PM   #4
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Re: Vote 4 the team that u think will win the NFC South in 2010 here

According to the poll most people think the Saints toughest opponent will be Carolina. Personally, I think the Falcons could develop into a formidable team. Matt Ryan is going to be good possibly very good......he just won't be great like Drew. We will own them while this team stays intact.
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