PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH:
1. NEW ORLEANS
4. TAMPA BAY
TAMPA BAY: RAHEEM MORRIS
LAST YEAR: 8-8
The Saints have been up and down, and last year they fell to just 8-8. It all comes down to two questions for the Saints. Will all the defensive players they brought in stem the tide, and will the new defensive schemes under new defensive coordinator Greg Williams make a difference? Probably some, but still a borderline playoff team.
PLAYING THE SAINTS – WHEN THEY ARE BAD:
Still the Aints at home? Just 23-38 ATS last 61 home games.
LAST YEAR: 12-4
Jake Delhomme completed less than 60% of his passes a year ago. Is he on the downside of his NFL career? The QB position is so vital in the NFL, and if Delhomme truly is beginning to diminish and fade, where will that leave the Panthers? He had just 15 TD passes and 12 INT’s a year ago. If those numbers decline again, the Panthers will fall significantly.
BETTING THE PANTHERS – WHEN THEY ARE BAD:
Not-so healthy 13-22 ATS as home chalk of more than a FG. The Panthers are just 1-6 ATS after allowing less than a TD.
BETTING THE PANTHERS – WHEN THEY ARE GOOD:
The Panthers are 7-0 ATS after a poor defensive game – allowing 35 points or more.
LAST YEAR: 11-5
The Falcons made an abrupt turnaround a year ago, with Matt Ryan quickly erasing the Michael Vick saga. Can Ryan avoid injuries and the sophomore slump? Their are other considerations, as the division is good, no teams finished below .500 a year ago, and the Falcons face the 4th toughest schedule in the NFL. Playoffs still a possibility, but expect them to disappoint this season.
BETTING THE FALCONS – WHEN THEY ARE BAD:
Momentum stopping 2-17 ATS after a home win. The Falcons can’t cash in on prosperity as they are 0-12 ATS off back-to-back wins.
BETTING THE FALCONS – WHEN THEY ARE GOOD:
The Falcons have covered 58.3% of all their games as a TD or greater dog since 2001.
LAST YEAR: 9-7
The Bucs have QB issues. Will Josh freeman be given an opportunity, or will it be Byron Leftwich? The stars of the defense from past years have been replaced by some talented young players. But overall, with a new head coach, this should be a difficult year for the Bucs.
BETTING THE BUCS – WHEN THEY ARE BAD:
Go West young man? Not the Bucs, just 4-26 SU on the West Coast last 30 games. The Bucs have been horrible on the road in non-conference play at 2-10-1 ATS
BETTING THE BUCS – WHEN THEY ARE GOOD:
New coaches have had success as favorites vs NFC East at 4-0-1 ATS.
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