Vegas predicts Saints will rule NFC South
Kyle T. Mosley
Brady's new arrival does not matter. The Vegas sports books have the New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees winning the NFC South in 2020.
On Thursday, March 26th, Sports Illustrated invited me to join my colleagues Bill Enright and Jaime Eisner to discuss the projected wins for NFC South teams in the 2020 NFL regular season. Eisner, sports betting and fantasy football guru, says the Vegas odds-makers still believe the New Orleans Saints will win the NFC South division over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, and Carolina Panthers. Hence, Tom Brady in the NFC South will not impact the Saints chances of repeating as champs for a fourth-consecutive year.
The sports bookies project the New Orleans Saints at winning 11.5 games in 2020. In my estimation, their predictions seem to be correct. The NFC South will not be a “cake walk” for the Saints, as it was the past two seasons at 13-3. The likelihood of the Saints dropping 2 or 3 more division is not out of the question. The bigger concern is how they will handle the Chiefs, 49ers, Packers, and Vikings at home. The tendency of the Saints is to lose at least one “winnable” game per year when they are the favorites. But this is the NFL and those types of games will occur. Hence, an 11-game win total is plausible, but I have the Saints at winning 12 games in 2020.
Jamie Eisner, editor of SI Gambling and SI Fantasy, believes the Bucs will only win 9 games in 2020 even after the addition of QB Tom Brady. He said there is “plenty of optimism” for the Buccaneers this season since Brady’s signing, but the team projects to win nine games. My thoughts are that the Bucs’ offense will be dangerous with the collective minds of QB Tom Brady, HC Bruce Arians, and OC Byron Leftwich. However, can DC Todd Bowles field a defense able to create turnovers against NFC South rival quarterbacks in Brees, Bridgewater, and Ryan?
Enright asked the Eisner about the Atlanta Falcons’ projections and the number surprised me. Vegas bookies have the Falcons winning 7.5 games on the year. Eisner said of Falcons on the road:
“they legitimately can go 1-7 on the road this year...they have really brutal road schedule...they will have trouble getting to .500 this year.” Jaime Eisner - SI Gambling and SI Fantasy
Saints fans will rejoice if the Falcons collapse under 500. Eisner may overstate the Falcons’ issues. The offensive threats of QB Matt Ryan, RB Todd Gurley, WR Julio Jones, and WR Calvin Ridley should be enough for the Falcons to handle the Chargers, Cowboys, and Bucs on the road. I agree they have a difficult road schedule with the Chiefs, Packers, Vikings, Chargers, Cowboys, and NFC South adversaries. 2020 may not be kind for Owner Arthur Blank, HC Dan Quinn, and their “Dirty Birds.”
Panthers HC Matt Rhule and OC Joe Brady take over the reins in Carolina. Rhule is assembling some of his Temple Owl Alums with QB P.J. Walker, former Saints WR Keith Kirkwood, WR Robby Anderson, and LB Tahir Whitehead to help challenge his NFC South rivals. Jamie Eisner says the William Hill Sportsbook projects the Carolina Panthers at a 5.5 game win total for 2020. Former Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater takes over at the starting quarterback role for former NFL MVP Cam Newton.
Former Saints assistant coach Joe Brady will install his form of Sean Payton’s offense with the Panthers, but this team must find playmakers on defense if they plan to contend in the NFC South. The Panthers suffered a major loss when All-Pro LB Luke Kuechly, their defensive leader, retired after 8 seasons in Carolina because of multiple concussions. They need help at LB, CB, S and DT. The Panthers are a team in rebuild mode.
New Orleans can win the NFC South again and are favorites by the William Hill Sportsbook at +1100 for the Super Bowl 55 crown. Only the Chiefs (+400), Ravens (+650), and 49ers (+700) are Super Bowll 55 favorites over the Saints according to the Vegas bettors. Since Tom Brady signing with the Buccaneers on March 18, 2020, Vegas views them as the 6th favorite team at +1600.
Here are my new NFC South Predictions (3/27/2020):
- New Orleans Saints: 12-4
- Atlanta Falcons: 10-6
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 9-7
- Carolina Panthers 5-11