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In this Dec. 23, 2018, file photo, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees reacts after a touchdown carry by running back Alvin Kamara, not pictured, in the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In this Dec. 23, 2018, file photo, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees reacts after a touchdown carry by running back Alvin Kamara, not pictured, in the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.|Butch Dill | Associated Press
NFL

NFL Preview: Mims dissects the NFC South and picks their first 7 games

Robert Mims

Robert Mims

The season is less than 10 days away. It’s time to decide on future bet win totals and division winners. So, let go where the weather is furious, and the betting is hot as we preview the NFC South.

1) Saints – New Orleans is one of the top offensive teams in the league. Sean Payton’s play calling and Drew Brees at QB have been a can’t miss formula. In 2018, the Saints averaged 3.21 points per offensive drive. That number was the 2nd most in the NFL. Two heartbreaking season ending plays have kept them from advancing the past two seasons. They have explosive weapons in Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. An exceptional offensive line keeps Brees protected. The defense has improved particularly against the run. Record after seven games is 5-2. Loses to Rams and Bears.

2) Falcons – Atlanta has averaged 9 wins a year over the past 4 seasons. The over/under total on Bets Stars is set at 8.5 Matt Ryan is coming off an outstanding year. He is one of my top fantasy qb selections. He still has a core of top Wrs with Julio Jones as his go to guy. Running back Devonta Freeman must return to his 2017 form. He missed 14 games last year due to injury. The defensive line must put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. They only register 37 sacks last year. Record after seven games is 3-4. They lose to the Vikings, Colts, Texans and Rams. The game to look forward to is the home opener against the Eagles.

3) Panthers – Carolina’s window of opportunity is about to close. Cam Newton has had surgery on his throwing shoulder twice in the last three years. Injuries have also plagued Greg Olsen and Luke Kuechly. Expect good things from Christian McCaffrey. I don’t expect Coach Ron Rivera to return in 2020. The average win total over the last 4 seasons is 9.7. The over /under total on FanDuel is 7.5. The lean is toward under. Record after seven games is 2-5. They win against the Cardinals and at home against Tampa Bay.

4) Buccaneers – Tampa Bay has the enigmatic Jameis Winston as the leader. I am not sold on his level of leadership and commitment. Interceptions ended 14.5% of Tampa’s offensive drives in 2018. Add that to a scheduling snafu that has the Bucs away from home for seven weeks during 2019 and a last place finish is in order. Mike Evans is still the bright spot at WR with 5 straight 1,000 yards seasons. The defense is suspect and ranked 27th in the NFL in 2018. They have averaged 6 wins since 2015. I see their 1st seven games record at 1-6, They win over the Panthers in London during week 6.

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