The New Orleans Saints entered this season as the NFC South winner for the previous four seasons. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished second in the division last year but won the Super Bowl.
This season, NFL odds have had the Bucs as the heavy favorites to win the division and dethrone the Saints.
After a disappointing loss to the Washington Football Team, the Bucs failed to separate themselves from the Saints. Unfortunately, the loss also let the Carolina Panthers claw their way into the middle of the conversation.
Can the Bucs bounce back from consecutive losses and secure the division that they firmly controlled just three weeks ago?
NFC South Through Week 10
As it stands now, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be the division champs.
They have the best record in the division, best point differential, and have had at least a share of first since the end of Week 4. They also have the second-easiest remaining schedule in the division, but there’s no such thing as an easy win in the NFL.
However, the Saints are only a game behind and currently hold the head-to-head advantage should the division finish in a tie.
Tampa can rectify that by beating them in Week 15, a victory that would significantly increase their odds of having a better divisional record. By that point, New Orleans would be 1-3, and Tampa would be 2-2 at worst.
The Carolina Panthers sit 1.5 back and will either gain or lose that half-game during their bye week, depending on the results of the Bucs game in Atlanta.
The Panthers are 2-0 in the division and play the Buccaneers twice over the final three weeks. However, the Panthers will control their fate if they remain within two games with three left to play.
The Atlanta Falcons are sitting in last but are only two games back of first.
That said, they’re the only team with a negative point differential in the NFC South, and they haven’t exactly impressed on either side of the ball. They have the most manageable remaining schedule of the four teams, though, so maybe they’re not out of it.
How They’re Trending
The Buccaneers have lost two straight, with a bye week in between them. Their offense is scoring 31 points per game, the third-best mark in the league despite battling injuries. However, they’re allowing 23.6 per game, which is third in the division and 17th in the NFL.
The Saints have also lost two in a row, both by two points. Their defense is one of the league’s best, allowing just 19.8 points a game even against top offenses like the Titans and Bucs. The offense lost starter Jameis Winston for the season, while star running back Alvin Kamara has a banged-up knee.
The Panthers’ defense is even better, allowing just 280.7 yards and 19.3 points per game. The offense got Christian McCaffrey back and brought Cam Newton back to solve the quarterback issue.
The Falcons bounced back from an 0-2 start to hover around .500 over the past couple of weeks. Still, they’re towards the bottom of the NFL on offense and defense.
Will the Bucs Win the South?
The NFC South race is tight right now, but the Bucs are the defending champs for a reason. They have an elite offense guided by Tom Brady, and the defense is very talented, as evidenced by the fact they’re eighth in yards allowed per game.
In my opinion, they are the team to beat in the NFC South out of the four teams fighting for the throne. Do you agree that they will win the division? Check out BetMGM’s online sports betting site and see what wagers are available to you. Then, sign up for an account to place bets on all of this season’s NFL action.