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Projecting the NFC South in 2014

There's no doubt that the NFC South will be competitive next season. How do you expect the division to shake out next year?

Kevin C. Cox

This tweet from the Falcons was a welcome sight on my timeline today.

Looking toward the first NFC South matchup of the season for Atlanta prompted me to think about how the NFC South might shake out next season. There's no doubt that the division will be competitive--the Falcons should be at full strength, with players who were injured last season back on the field and with a roster that's tougher on both sides of the ball. The Panthers won the division last season and even secured a first-round bye, and the Saints also made the playoffs in 2013. The Buccaneers weren't great last season, but they've compiled a pretty impressive coaching staff to help turn the team around.

Falcons players and fans alike went into the 2013 season with high hopes and suffered the crushing agony of what's known as the "first to worst" phenomenon. Can the Falcons bounce back from worst to first this season? Could the first to worst fate befall the Panthers? Could we all be so lucky for the Saints to be terrible this season? Can the Bucs coaching staff turn them into a viable team this season?

I do think the Falcons will have a good chance to turn things around and at least make the playoffs in 2014, but I'm afraid the Saints will win the division. I know, I hate myself for saying it, too. I could see the Bucs finishing third, and the Panthers going from first to worst seems like a very real possibility to me.

How do you expect the NFC South to shake out in 2014, and why? Discuss!