Nov 30, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) in action against the Arizona Cardinals in the third quarter at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons defeated the Cardinals 29-18. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
4. NFC South
Big shocker, I know. Yes the NFC South has improved, but guess what, so has every other division. The good news is there is plenty of potential in the South. The bad news? They have to prove it.
May 26, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; (Editors note: Caption correction) Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Grady Jarrett (97) and linebacker Vic Beasley (44) shown on the field during OTA at Falcons Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Potentially, the South could boast four top-10 NFL quarterbacks in the next few years. In my opinion, the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints have one each with Matt Ryan and Drew Brees respectively. A case could be made for Cam Newton, too.
If Newton can continue to improve his game, and Jameis Winston can live up to the extreme expectations that naturally come with being selected first overall, the division could soon be stacked at quarterback.
The biggest problem area is on defense.
The Carolina Panthers sits comfortably at the top in this department, but they are far from the finished article. The Atlanta Falcons look set to make the biggest improvement, but there’s a long way to go.
New Orleans and Tampa Bay haven’t done enough to turn their defenses into top units — especially the Buccaneers, who put the majority of their emphasis on the offensive side of the football.
At the end of the year, this could be different. But after a 2014 season in which not one of the four teams even hit .500, it’s going to take more than one offseason to lift the NFC South off of the bottom.
Next: No. 3