Falcons are heavy betting favorites to win NFC South, and they should be

NFL: DEC 10 Buccaneers at Falcons

The Falcons are heavy favorites to win the NFC South, and they should be after signing Kirk Cousins.

Depending on the betting outlet, Atlanta is even money or better to win the division. Tampa Bay sits around 3-1 odds, with New Orleans following closely, and Carolina is, at best, a 10-1 shot to take the crown.

Most sane people believe it to be a three-team race between the Falcons, Buccaneers, who have won the division each of the last three seasons, and the Saints, who had won it four straight seasons before that.

Raheem Morris, Terry Fontenot, and Kirk Cousins are trying to capture Atlanta’s first division title since the magical 2016 Super Bowl run, and they’ll have an excellent opportunity to do so.

I see a lot of Bucs fans acting like they’ve been disrespected because everyone is picking the Falcons, and to them, I ask, why?

Tampa Bay is essentially running it back with a very similar team, a team that needed a last-second touchdown to beat the Falcons with DESMOND RIDDER as their starting quarterback.

It’s not that Kirk Cousins is head and shoulders better than Baker Mayfield or even Derek Carr; he’s just exponentially better than what the Falcons had last year.

Atlanta split the season series with Tampa Bay and New Orleans with far worse quarterback play than their division rivals. Even if the Falcons regress on the defensive side of the ball, the improved play at the most important position in the sport will be monumentally impactful.

The Saints and Buccaneers are essentially sticking with the status quo in most facets of the roster, and the same could be said for the Falcons, except for at quarterback. However, it goes further than that.

One thing working against the Buccaneers and for the Falcons is having to play a first-place schedule vs. a third-place schedule. The Bucs will have to square off against the 49ers, Ravens, and Lions — all of whom made their conference championship. The Saints will square off against the Rams, Browns, and Packers, while the Falcons will have it easier against the Seahawks, Steelers, and Vikings.

Moreover, Baker Mayfield’s career year should be attributed, at least partially, to Dave Canales, who is now the Panthers head coach. So, the Falcons are going from Desmond Ridder and Arthur Smith to Kirk Cousins and Zac Robinson, while the Buccaneers go from Mayfield and Canales to Liam Coen.

I’m not quite sure what the Bucs or Saints fans are seeing. Kirk Cousins isn’t some Hall of Fame player, but compared to what the Falcons had last year, he might as well be.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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