B/R predictions NFC South to be a three-way race for first place

Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton predicted the last place finisher in each division. Unsurprisingly, the Carolina Panthers were last in the NFC South. The New Orleans Saints came in third, which also comes as no surprise. There’s still plenty of hype supporting the Kirk Cousins-led Atlanta Falcons. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers shouldn’t be overlooked.

Falcons, Buccaneers, Saints, Panthers feels like a common prediction for the final NFC South standings. This is less about the order and more about the records that lead to this standing. Moton may have placed the Falcons on top, but not by much:

Atlanta Falcons: 9-8

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 8-9

Carolina Panthers: 3-14

This prediction is very similar to last year’s standings. The Panthers bring up the rear. This time they get one additional victory, and the divisional winner ends with a 9-8 record.

The Panthers sit at the bottom, four games below the third place Saints. There’s only two games separating third and first place, however. That race is very tight and could be decided by early season divisional games.

New Orleans ends the season in Tampa Bay, where they won last year 23-13. That’s the only game between the top three NFC South teams after Week 10. So there’s a good chance the divisional standings could be stable down the stretch.

Many pundits are predicting Atlanta to win the NFC South, and it doesn’t sound like it’ll be close, at least according to those neutral observers. Moton, on the other hand, didn’t see Atlanta far above the others. The division may not be strong, but it will likely be very competitive at the top.

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