The Saints are -200 to win the division in 2010 NFL preseason betting followed by Atlanta, Carolina and Tampa Bay.
2010 NFL preseason odds list Atlanta as the 2-1 second choice. Carolina is 5-1 while Tampa Bay is given no chance at 20-1. The Saints are the defending Super Bowl champs but in the NFC South, the reigning champ almost never wins the following season. That could mean Atlanta takes the title away from New Orleans in 2010. The Saints still have Drew Brees and a potent offense but there are some concerns. The New Orleans defense was not that good but they got enough turnovers to survive. The Saints may have won the division last season and won the Super Bowl but they are not a team that looks like a repeat champion.
Atlanta could be right with New Orleans this season. Quarterback Matt Ryan is poised for a big season and the Falcons have some nice weapons with running back Michael Turner, wide receiver Roddy White and tight end Tony Gonzalez. The defense was a major problem for Atlanta last season so they must get better if they hope to contain Brees and the Saints. History is on their side though as Super Bowl winners can struggle the next season.
Carolina had a great running game last season with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart but they didn’t get enough out of quarterback Jake Delhomme and he is now gone. Matt Moore will lead an offense that also includes wide receiver Steve Smith. Losing Julius Peppers weakens the defense and overall the Panthers look like a .500 team yet again.
Tampa Bay is a very young team that is likely to struggle again this season. Quarterback Josh Freeman had his moments as a rookie but he could take a step back in his sophomore season. Tampa Bay has very few offensive weapons and the defense is bad. The Bucs really will struggle to compete in this division.
The NFC South should be all about New Orleans and Atlanta although Carolina has the ability to stay in the race for a while.