The NFC South produced the NFC’s Super Bowl 50 participant in the Carolina Panthers in 2015. Here’s what the road to Super Bowl LI in Houston looks like for the division.
Last Year (2015): Carolina Panthers (15-1), Atlanta Falcons (8-8), New Orleans Saints (7-9), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-10)
The Carolina Panthers boasted the best record in the NFL in 2015, finishing at 15-1, the one loss being to the division-rival Atlanta Falcons. The team, however, experienced a blow to their defense following their Super Bowl 50 loss to the Denver Broncos. Cornerback Josh Norman, arguably the MVP of the entire Panthers team, let alone the defense, had his franchise tag rescinded in April, resulting in the CB bolting for the Washington Redskins.
The Atlanta Falcons improved in 2015 under new head coach Dan Quinn, but still struggled mightily. The team did not make any big splashes in the offseason, losing wide receiver Roddy White being their most notable departure.
The New Orleans Saints remained quiet as well, with a mundane 2016 NFL Draft class and no big free agency moves.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a surprise move by firing head coach Lovie Smith after their improved 6-10 season with rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. The Bucs promoted offensive linemen Dirk Koetter to head coach, with Smith jetting for the college realm of Illinois.
Prediction; Panthers take the division again, but the Buccaneers continue to make an improvement and challenge for the 2nd spot.