After winning four straight NFC South titles, the New Orleans Saints aren’t the favorites anymore. Any chances of them being the favorites in the division this year were eliminated when the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl and retained their entire roster and when Drew Brees called it a career and headed off into the retirement sunset.
Bleacher Report is the latest outlet not to pick the Saints to win the division with all three writers choosing the Bucs to win the NFC South.
"The only question is whether any other NFC South can make this division race interesting. The Atlanta Falcons aren’t better without Julio Jones. The Carolina Panthers acquired Sam Darnold, who remains a question mark at the game’s most important position. The New Orleans Saints must transition from Drew Brees to either Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill."
Yeah, the Bucs might have an easy route to the NFC South title in 2021. While the Saints are still a very talented team, they’re in a transition at the most important position in the game and that’s not ideal when you’re going for division win No. 5.
The Saints aren’t the favorites in the NFC South.
It wasn’t difficult for the Saints to handle Tampa last year in the regular season and they flat-out dominated the Bucs in the second matchup, which was held on Sunday Night Football, so everyone got to see the beat down take place. The Saints know they can beat the Bucs but the problem this year will be that Tampa knows what they’re capable of doing and are out to defend their title.
New Orleans should be able to vie for second in the NFC South though, as the Falcons lost Julio Jones and Matt Ryan isn’t the MVP quarterback he once was. The Panthers are relying on Sam Darnold to get them through the season and well — That doesn’t really need to be followed up on.
The NFC South was notorious for having a new division winner every year until the Saints started their dominance in 2017 that could very well end this year. Four straight division titles is impressive and while the Saints are being counted out for title No. 5, it’s not a foregone conclusion if the rest of the roster shows up in a big way.
For now, however, this is going to be the norm for the Saints and it’s time to get used to being the underdogs in the NFC South, which hasn’t been the cast for quite some time.