2016 NFL season preview: Falcons the value over Panthers in NFC South

Updated: September 7, 2016

The Inside Word is thrilled to announce the addition of James Potter to our team for 2016. We’ve known James for more than a decade during which we’ve garnered huge respect of his sports betting and handicapping skills and knowledge, particularly when it comes to America’s game – the National Football League. With the opening game of the NFL regular season just days away, today James is previewing the NFC South.



Carolina Panthers

An incredible 2015 for the Panthers turned into a year of “what could have been”. They shouldn’t think like that as it was an amazing run, but with the help of the media, the mind can do strange things to the attitude and aspirations of NFL teams. Cam Newton has now graduated into the top echelon of the QB ranks. “Superman” Cam, however, appears to be one of those players who relies on his own hype to get the very best out of himself. That is all well and good but after what happened in the Super Bowl last year, the Superman (pictured below) was cut down by his own version of kryptonite. On another sour note their defense is going to be without a few of their stars from last year. Defenses can often fall apart when you start to tinker with them. Back in 2013 the 49ers had the best defence in the league and look where they are now. The bottom line is that this team went 15-1 last season, won the NFC title and made it to a Super Bowl. They should be hungry to atone for their Super Bowl loss and have every chance to do so, but just like the other 31 teams in the NFL they have their problems to overcome.



To win the Super Bowl: $10
Seems a good price. I have them as the third or fourth most likely team to win it this year but it’s a season where there are at least a dozen realistic chances.

To win the NFC South: $1.45
Not sure about this. I expect the other three teams in their division to improve significantly this year. The Panthers deserve to be clear favourites but this is way too short. I will be on Atlanta.

Total wins 10.5: Over $1.77, under $2.00
The over here is so much better value than the $1.45 for them to win their division. They would need 11 wins to beat Atlanta so the over at $1.77 seems like a very inviting price in comparison.


Atlanta Falcons

We all know what happened last year to the Falcons. They were undefeated for the first half of the season and didn’t win another game with the exception of being the only team to knock off the Panthers. So good luck working that out! Quite simply it came down to the injury of their superstar running back Devonta Freeman (pictured below). The former Florida State wrecking ball is the real deal and a healthy Freeman means a healthy Falcons. Wide receiver Julio Jones is the best wide receiver in the business. This guy is big, fast and can catch and we still haven’t seen his best. If we see it this year, watch out. Matt Ryan doesn’t have to be a superstar QB. He just has to be reliable, control the offense, feed his stars and not turn the ball over. I think he is more than capable of doing that. It’s a big plus that he doesn’t have to listen to Roddy White complaining about not getting enough football thrown his way this year. The Falcons defense is a work in progress but we saw enough last year to think that they can be competitive if the offense is firing. A lot to like about the Dirty Birds!



To win the Super Bowl: $51.00
This is just an insanely good price. If their defense improves they can win it all.

To win the AFC South: $6.00
Carolina obviously deserve the favourite tag here but I’ll be lining up to take some of this $6.00 on offer.

Total wins 7.5: Over $2.10, under $1.70
Beg, borrow and steal and get on the Over at the massive price of $2.10. The Falcons have too many weapons on offense and only have to break even to win this bet.


New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees will be 38 if the Saints make this year’s Super Bowl. I don’t think that is going to happen but the future Hall of Fame QB is tough and durable. The Saints did him no favours trading away his tight end Jimmy Graham and the results showed last year. This year the reports are that Brees (pictured below) is happier with his receiving options. Rob Ryan had to go as defensive coordinator so we really don’t know what to expect on that side of the fence from the Saints in 2016. If they can tackle, then they might be hard to stop. I don’t think the Saints will make the playoffs, but they are another one of these teams that could surprise. They certainly aren’t going to be a team that other teams want to play (especially in New Orleans) as Brees can still rip any defense apart on his day.



To win the Super Bowl. $67.00
The best fluke hope paying better than 50/1.

To win the NFC South: $7.50
I think Atlanta is a way better bet at $6.00

Total wins 7: Over $1.95, under $1.80
Just too hard to tell with so many variables. This number seems about right.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What a brutal start to the season the Bucs face. In the first five weeks they travel three times, play both Super Bowl teams from last year and have two divisional games. Ouch. But optimism is high on Florida’s Gulf Coast and it appears that they are building the best squad they have had since the days when John Gruden was holding the reins and Warren Sapp was belting up quarterbacks. A lot of that revolves around second-year quarterback Jameis Winston (pictured below). This kid is really good. If he can keep it all together off the field, then he might be the best quarterback drafted in the past five years when it is all said and done. I am not a fan of coach Lovie Smith but he isn’t too bad when it comes to building a franchise. You can expect improvement down in sunny Tampa but the Bucs are in a tough division and have a horror draw. At least the fans can expect big things in the next few years.



To win the Super Bowl: $101
This is the right quote. Probably the best value team at 100/1 but they aren’t at 100/1 because they have a realistic chance.

To win the NFC South: $8.50
This is massive unders. They are the clear fourth pick in this division and would need to be closer to 15/1 to represent any value.

Total wins 7.5: Over $2.15, under: $1.67
As a team they will improve but their division will be stronger. Can’t see them winning more than two divisional games so the under looks great value even though it is very short.

• James’ NFL previews will continue in coming days with a look at the NFC North comprising the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions.


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