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2022 Quarterly Report: NFC South

The NFC South remains the NFL’s weakest division by a big margin. Since the midseason report, this has gotten even worse.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers show no sign of waking up. The Atlanta Falcons are spiraling out of control. The New Orleans Saints have become more disappointing, which seemed near-impossible when they were 3-6 at the midpoint of the season. Over the last month, the Carolina Panthers have shown the only real improvement. No one saw that coming.

2022 Quarterly Report: NFC South
Cade Otton #88 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs the ball against Demario Davis #56 of the New Orleans Saints - Mike Carlson/Getty Images/AFP

With five weeks of the Super Bowl bet remaining in the regular season, here’s where each NFC South team stands.

Let’s check the latest NFL picks, stats, injury reports, and NFL predictions. We’ve plenty of NFL expert picks for you to consider.

Buccaneers (6-6)

  • Odds to win NFC South -650
  • Odds to win NFC +1000
  • Odds to win Super Bowl +2000

Everyone is waiting on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to wake up. Just when you think they are finally back, the Bucs turn in another stinker. For example, Tampa Bay grabbed back-to-back games against the Los Angeles Rams (16-13) and Seattle Seahawks (21-16) entering a bye week. In Week 12, the Buccaneers lost in overtime to the Cleveland Browns (23-17) before squeezing out a last-second win over New Orleans (17-16).

The regular season has been a roller coaster for Tom Brady and Tampa Bay. At this point, this seems to be who the Bucs are. Don’t expect consistency. Don’t expect an elite defense or explosive offense. Tampa Bay has too many holes, like the offensive line and run defense.

By reaching .500, the Buccaneers have nearly locked up the NFC South. At the halfway point, they had -225 odds to win the division. Now, Tampa Bay is priced at -650. This is simply the by-product of a bad division.

Maybe the Bucs can turn it around in the postseason. We should never count out Brady when it matters most. However, Tampa Bay will likely host the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round. Will the Buccaneers be the first-round exit?

Take a Look at Other 2 NFL Special Articles For This Season

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Falcons (5-8)

  • Odds to win NFC South +1000
  • Odds to win NFC +10000
  • Odds to win the Super Bowl +20000

Over the last five games, the Atlanta Falcons are 1-4. This includes losses against the Carolina Panthers (25-15) and Pittsburgh Steelers (19-16). Atlanta had a chance to win the division, but after this horrible stretch, the Falcons’ postseason hopes are a longshot.

The defense has not been the issue. If anything, the unit is playing better than usual after allowing only 19 points per game in the last two games. Atlanta has one of the league’s worst pass rushes, ranking second-to-last in team sacks. However, the secondary is improving with cornerback A.J. Terrell finally healthy. He held Washington Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin to only one catch for five yards in Week 12.

During the 1-4 stretch, the Falcons reached 20 points in one game, which was a 27-24 win against the Chicago Bears. The run game is still working, as it ranks second in rushing yards per game. However, Atlanta can no longer win by just running the ball. The offense needs balance and quarterback Marcus Mariota has struggled with accuracy.

Rookie QB Desmond Ridder was named the starter ahead of Week 14. The Falcons hope to see an improving passing attack, but it may be too little too late, especially with tight end Kyle Pitts out for the rest of the season (knee).

Panthers (4-8)

  • Odds to win NFC South +1000
  • Odds to win NFC +25000
  • Odds to win Super Bowl +50000

The Carolina Panthers are not world-beaters by any means. However, after going 2-1 in the last three games, they are emerging as the second favorite to win the NFC South. Will Carolina pull it off? Probably not, but all it takes is the Bucs slipping a couple of times. The Panthers are capable of pulling off upsets. They are consistently exceeding expectations, going 5-1 against the spread (ATS) over the last six.

Like last season, exceptional defense is leading the way. Cornerback Jaycee Horn is quietly having a great season. Edge rusher Brian Burns has six sacks in the last six games, and he has already hit the 10-sack mark with five games left. In the last three games, opponents are averaging only 12.7 points per game. When your defense is playing this well, any team stands a chance.

Quarterback play will likely remain an issue. Sam Darnold started last week in his return from injury. He played well with a 103.8 passer rating, but more than likely, Darnold will not stay consistent. We cannot forget about his terrible 2021 season. Carolina made the wise decision to cut ties with Baker Mayfield this week. Going forward, this is Darnold’s job.

Saints (4-9)

  • Odds to win NFC South +1800
  • Odds to win NFC +25000
  • Odds to win Super Bowl +50000

Remember when the New Orleans Saints entered the season as a potential playoff team? After going 1-4 over the last five games, the Saints’ playoff hopes have been buried. New Orleans now sits at the bottom of the NFC South with the highest odds to win the division.
It’s gotten so bad that some are questioning if the Saints are tanking for a quarterback. Why would they, though? The Philadelphia Eagles own New Orleans’ first-round pick. The Saints simply have bad quarterback play and various injuries.

Cornerback Marshon Lattimore hasn’t played since Week 5 due to an abdominal injury. Wide receiver Michael Thomas has missed most of the season (toe) and linebacker Pete Werner, who was enjoying a breakout season, has been absent for four consecutive games (ankle).

Quarterback Andy Dalton has been an up-and-down experience, and backup Jameis Winston would be no better. While this season is a major disappointment, the Saints’ future is extremely concerning. Clearly, New Orleans needs a quarterback, but where will it come from? The Saints could use their second-round pick on a QB in the 2023 NFL Draft. Tanking would help New Orleans get a higher pick, but would a team really intentionally lose for higher second-day selections?

Be sure to check all the super bowl betting for the 2022 Quarterly Report, NFC South.

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