NFC South News

NFC South...destined for a tie?

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Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Could two teams finish atop the division with identical records?

By Chris Dunnels | Canal Street Chronicles

Despite last-minute roster shifts or contract extensions, NFL teams are what they are going to be come Week 1 of the 2019 regular season. At this point, we know who the New Orleans Saints are. They are a team that was one call away from appearing in a Super Bowl last year with largely the entire roster returning for another run this season.

It should be no surprise then that the latest win-loss predictions from Bleacher Report have the Saints atop the division at 11-5, a two game drop-off from 2018’s 13-3 record. What might come as a surprise is the Atlanta Falcons, who finished 2018 at 7-9, are predicted for the exact same 11-5 record.

Full Story - CSC

Matt Ryan....Saints killer?

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Matty Ice steps his game up against New Orleans.

By Chris Dunnels | Canal Street Chronicles

There are always certain players that seem to give specific teams trouble, despite the fact that they might be otherwise be a mediocre player to the rest of the league. In some cases, the player might be a Pro Bowl caliber player, but they just take it to another level against particular opponents.

Pro Football Focus did some analysis on this front and determined each NFL team’s “team killer.” For the New Orleans Saints, it’s Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan:

Way-Too-Early NFC South Projections

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By Drew Crabtree | Last Word On Sports

NFC South projections in July? Okay, it may be way too early to begin thinking about the NFL season, but who else can’t wait until fall? In this way-too-early series, I will give my take on each of the NFL divisions and how I believe they will shape up. The NFC South is home to a team that blew a 28-3 in the Super Bowl and a team that was a miracle and a blown-call away from potential back-to-back Super Bowls. Who will end up on top?

Way-Too-Early NFC South Projections

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-13) (2-4)

Wins: Carolina Panthers (week 6), Arizona Cardinals (week 10), Atlanta Falcons (week 17)

Losses: San Francisco 49ers (week 1), at Carolina Panthers (week 2), New York Giants (week 3), at Los Angeles Rams (week 4), at...

Which NFL division has the best head coach, quarterback combos?

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If you haven’t heard, this is a slow time in the NFL. So here is a ranking of the divisions based quarterback and head coach combos.

By Justin Dueppengiesser | Fansided

The quarterback is arguably the most important position in any sport. For a team like the New England Patriots, they have been lucky enough have the same guy slinging the rock for two decades at a legendary level.

Incredibly, New England has also enjoyed perhaps the greatest coach of all-time during the same stretch. Currently, there is no doubt Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are the NFL’s best combo, but what about the rest of the division? Where does it stack up with the rest of the NFL?

8. AFC East
New England Patriots: Bill Belichick and Tom Brady

New York Jets: Adam Gase and Sam Darnold

Miami Dolphins: Brian Flores and Ryan Fitzpatrick/Josh Rosen

Buffalo Bills: Sean McDermott and Josh Allen

While the AFC East does have Brady and Belichick, the rest of the division is unproven. Darnold presents a ton of upside, but Gase doesn’t have the greatest track record. Flores is a first-year head coach and Rosen has the tools, but hasn’t shown he is going to be a franchise quarterback. Bills Mafia is hopeful that Allen is the next Jim Kelly, but he needs to show tremendous...

Can Alvin Kamara or Christian McCaffrey join the exclusive 1,000-1,000 club?

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By David Newton & Mike Triplett | ESPN Staff Writers

Former 49ers great Roger Craig randomly ran into Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey last year at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco for a showing of the Broadway hit "Hamilton."

But there was nothing random about Craig's message to the former Stanford star. It was a direct hit.

"You can do it," the former running back recalled of his conversation with the eighth pick of the 2017 draft. "You can join the 1,000-1,000 team."

It's a small team -- as in two. Craig and Marshall Faulk are the only players in NFL history to record 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season.

Full Story - ESPN.com

2019 NFL Quarterback Rankings by Division – NFC

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By Sebastian Livermore | LWOS

Not too long ago, I started a brand-new series in which I would rank divisions by each position. I started by ranking the AFC divisions by their quarterbacks and now comes part two: Ranking the NFC divisions by their quarterbacks. In my opinion, the NFC is much harder to rank than the AFC. There are so many more question marks with the quarterbacks of the NFC and the level of play isn’t as easily defined as the AFC.

How do you rate guys like Jimmy Garoppolo and Mitchell Trubisky? What can we expect from Jameis Winston now that Bruce Arians is his head coach? How long of a leash does Eli Manning have now that his heir apparent is waiting in the wings? That’s just a small sample size of things I have to...

Alvin Kamara Posts Cryptic Tweet, Matt Ryan Comments on NFL Pass Interference Rule

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By Mike Greger | Heavy.com

Pass interference will be available for review on instant replay for the 2019 season. The NFL Competition Committee unanimously approved the rule change, but the caveat is it applies only to next season.

Under the rule change, non-calls on potential pass interference plays can be reviewed after the two-minute warning of each half and during overtime, according to NFL.com. The review must be initiated by the replay official and he can only stop the game when there is “clear and obvious visual evidence.”

The move was made to eliminate missed calls like the one that helped end the New Orleans Saints season in last year’s NFC Championship Game. The Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman wiped out the Saints’ Tommylee Lewis on a wheel route near the sideline. The score was tied with two minutes left and the Rams went on to win in overtime. The play was later recreated and called correctly in a...

NFC South Offseason Reports: Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Jameis Winston Face Critical Seasons

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Quarterbacks are always in the spotlight, but it will be especially sharply focused on the four in this division, with age, injury and coaching turnover playing into the major storylines.

By Jonathan Jones | Sports Illustrated

New Orleans Saints

2018 record: 13-3

New players: Latavius Murray, Malcolm Brown, Jared Cook, Erik McCoy, Nick Easton, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

Players lost: Max Unger, Mark Ingram, Alex Okafor, Tommylee Lewis, Tyeler Davison.

In what areas did the team improve? Tight end production in New Orleans has decreased steadily since the Jimmy Graham trade following the 2014 season. Ben Watson followed Graham, then Coby Fleener took over the top receiving spot, and last year Watson regained the top spot—with just 400 receiving yards. Enter Jared Cook. The 10-year veteran is coming off the best season of his career (68 catches, 896 yards—fourth-most among tight end—and six TDs with Oakland) and makes for an immediate upgrade over the aging Watson, who’s now back in New England.

Full Story - SI

NFC South 2019 offseason grades: Falcons, Panthers make run at Saints, Bucs hope new coach can fix offense

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Only one NFC South team had a winning record in 2018 -- that will almost certainly change this season

By Ryan Wilson | CBS Sports

The Saints ran away with the NFC South in 2018. They won it by six games and at 13-3 were the only team to have a winning record. Not surprisingly, New Orleans was also the most balanced team in the division. The Panthers and Falcons, who represented the NFC in the Super Bowls after the 2015 and 2016 seasons, are looking to rebound from 7-9 campaigns, while the Buccaneers and their new coaching staff hope to get back to the postseason for the first time since 2007 -- when Jon Gruden was the coach and Jeff Garcia was the quarterback.

For now, here's a look at what all four teams in the division have done since the end of the '18 season and whether they're better off than they were just a few months ago.

Full Story - CBS

Gerald McCoy choosing between Browns, Ravens and Panthers

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Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is getting ready to announce his next team, and he’s reportedly down to three potential suitors.

By Kevin Parvizi | FanSided

Though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers deemed his cap hit too hefty at $13 million and seemingly no teams were willing to trade a draft pick for the veteran defensive tackle, Gerald McCoy has found no shortage of teams interested in signing him as a free agent.

McCoy has been one of the best defensive tackles of the past decade and would be an immediate difference-maker for any team. According to a report from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot, McCoy will make his final decision by Monday or Tuesday after his agent engages in final discussions over the weekend.

Per Cabot, the three teams in the running for McCoy’s services are the Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, and Cleveland Browns. Several other contenders have been mentioned as interested suitors in the Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, and New Orleans Saints, but it’s no surprise to see who the final teams are...

Source: Bucs finalizing one-year deal with Suh

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Jenna Laine and Lindsey Thiry | ESPN

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are finalizing a one-year deal, a source tells ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Suh would replace Gerald McCoy, who was released by the Buccaneers on Monday. Suh (second) and McCoy (third) were taken with consecutive picks in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft.

Suh was interested in playing for Tampa's new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, the source said.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians was asked about Suh earlier on Tuesday.

"I can't talk about him. He's not on my team,'' Arians said.

Full Story - ESPN

NFC South 2019 Season Win Totals And Historical Trends

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By Nikki Adams | Sports Book Review

AFC South Season Win Total Overview

As far as the NFC South is concerned, the Saints are the runaway favorites to clinch the NFC East title with most top-rated sportsbooks. BetOnline is offering the Saints as the -175 faves to repeat as divisional champions. The rest of the field is trading in plus-money obscurity and a good distance off beginning with the Falcons at +350 to the Panthers at +500 and the Bucs at +1200.

That the overarching outlook for the NFC South is rather grim isn’t all too surprising. Consider last term the Falcons, Panthers, and Bucs were ridiculously underwhelming with all sporting losing seasons. Falcons and Panthers finished with seven wins while the Bucs mustered up five wins. Yikes.

The Saints finished with a whopping 13 wins and reached the NFC Championship final. Not surprising they are projected at a whopping 10.5 wins for 2019 with both the OVER and UNDER opening on -110 (Table 1). In fact, all four teams opened with juice at -110 for both their OVER and UNDER options in season win total betting...

Report: Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank ‘getting restless’

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By James Parks | 247 Sports

This time last year, the Atlanta Falcons were regarded as favorites to win the Super Bowl.

Since then, the former NFC contenders have endured several injuries to starting players, weathered through a 7-9 season, and have suddenly fallen down most of the NFL power rankings.

Now, that state of affairs could be getting to the man in charge of the team.

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank is “getting restless” with how things have gone recently and the direction of the team overall, according to NBC Sports’ Peter King.

King ranked the Falcons 17th overall in the NFL, and in his assessment of their fortunes going into the 2019 season, left a hint that things are not as ideal as they could be.

“I keep hearing owner Arthur Blank is getting restless,” King said.

Full Story - 247 Sports

Saints sign speedy cornerback David Simmons from Division III North Park University

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By Rod Walker, The Advocate.com

Chances are, you've never heard of North Park University.

It's a Division III school on the north side of Chicago.

It's also where David Simmons Jr. attended school.

Simmons, a cornerback, is looking to become the next feel-good story from a small school to make it in the NFL.

The Saints on Sunday signed Simmons, who was invited to the team's rookie minicamp as a tryout player, according to a source.

Full Story - TheAdvocate.Com

The Saints had a chance to build something with Jake Delhomme, but blew the chance

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By Brian Allee Walsh - Special to the Sun Herald

Here we are more than 15 years later, and I can still hear the chants from frustrated New Orleans Saints fans inside the Louisiana Superdome.

Needing a win against the Carolina Panthers to keep their playoff chances alive on the final Sunday of the 2002 regular season, the Black and Gold struggled mightily under quarterback Aaron Brooks who played with a bum throwing shoulder.

With each passing minute and failed offensive possession, the cries for change grew louder.

“We want Jake! ... We want Jake! ... We want Jake!’‘

Their pleas went unanswered.

Full Story - The Sun Herald

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