In my opinion, the NFC South isn’t a fair fight. The Buccaneers are the clear front-runners.
Tom Brady had a ridiculous season again last year. He led the NFL in completions, passing yards, passing attempts and passing touchdowns while finishing second in MVP voting to Aaron Rodgers. He’s still playing at a high level, he’s still enjoying the process and he’s having fun. Oh, and by the way, just look around the division — he’s the only starting quarterback with a career-winning percentage above .500 (243-73).
Look at what Atlanta is doing now. They are moving on from Matt Ryan and brought in Marcus Mariota. He’s really a stopgap guy until they can get their third-round pick, Desmond Ridder, up to speed. You look at Mariota’s record as a starting quarterback, and it’s just 29-32.
Then, you look at the situation in Carolina. Matt Rhule is on the hot seat. They’ve got to get this thing figured out. The first year he was there it was Teddy Bridgewater, last year they rolled with Sam Darnold, and this year it looks like it’s going to be Baker Mayfield. Mayfield just got into the building five weeks ago, so he’s getting caught up trying to learn this offense. And oh, by the way, he had shoulder surgery in the offseason. He had a very lackluster year for the Browns, and his overall record as a starter is 29-30.
Finally, you look at the New Orleans Saints with Jameis Winston and new coach Dennis Allen. Sean Payton is no dummy. When Drew Brees stepped away from the game, and he had to play with three or four different quarterbacks last year, I think it took its toll on Payton. He took a pass on moving forward with Winston. I think he’d rather go coach Dak Prescott for the Dallas Cowboys, but that is a story for another day.
You look at Winston, and he’s a guy that has always struggled taking care of the football in critical situations. In his last year as a starter with the Buccaneers, he led the league with 30 interceptions. That continues to be a problem, and his win-loss record is 33-44.
No wonder Brady is coming back for his 23rd season.