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NFC South Preview: A Three-Headed Saints QB and More Wild, Wild Takes | The MMQB NFL Podcast

Can the Bucs make another run for the Super Bowl? What's the Saints QB situation? Will Darnold finally thrive with the Panthers? And what to expect from the Falcons.

As the world turns and the Division Preview Series moves on, Jenny, Conor and Gary turn their attention to the NFC South, home of the defending Super Bowl champions, the NFL’s strangest QB situation, the most challenging reclamation project in the league and … also the Falcons.

Just how good was the Bucs' offense last season? And if the answer is “not as good as you remember it being,” can we expect this year’s edition to be better than last year’s champions?

Jameis? Taysom? Ian? Who should start at quarterback for the Saints this fall, and what does Sean Payton have to do to keep this team on top?

A discussion of what the Panthers can hope for from Sam Darnold and from an intriguing young defense, and whether the Falcons—who consider themselves to be in “win-now” mode—should truly be in “win-now” mode.

Also, an official end to the term “quarterback whisperer”—you are banned from using it!—our weekly Mad Libs, predicted order of finish and more!

Have a question for a future mailbag? Dare to guess how we’ve ordered these division previews? Email themmqb@gmail.com or tweet at @GGramling_SI, @JennyVrentas or @ConorOrr

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May 15, 2021; Tampa Bay, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers players look on during rookie mini-camp at AdventHealth Training Center Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The following transcript is an excerpt from The MMQB NFL Podcast. Listen to the full episode on podcast players everywhere or on SI.com.

Gary Gramling: If you go back to last January and you rewatch that Saints-Buccaneers game, I think people kind of lose track of the fact that the Saints had a touchdown lead and the ball at midfield with less than 20 minutes to go in that game. Then they had the Jared Cook fumble. They turn it over a couple of times in the fourth quarter, and that's how it kind of got away from them. But if the Bucs lost that game, what would the narrative this offseason have been with them? Because that offense was really not good. I think they had a couple of really good series in the Super Bowl—I thought the play-calling was really good that game. I thought they figured some things out that maybe they hadn't figured out at all in the regular season or even the playoffs at that point. 

I don't think they were very good in the Green Bay win in the NFC title game. But this system just never really worked. And to an extent, they sort of handed it over to Tom Brady and that sort of helped things out there. But I don't know exactly what they're going to look like in 2021, because if you sort of hand it over to Tom Brady and be like, O.K., this is going to be a New England offense that we're going to run, and you basically take the reins and we'll sort of follow your lead, I think that works to an extent. But does it work all season long? I don't know. I guess overall, I just think they underachieved on offense for, I don't know, eighteen and a half games. And that's why I think the Washington football team is basically the equal of the 2020 Bucs. That's the end of my thesis. 

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