Week one of NFL action is upon us and it is time to get excited about the powerful NFC South. As a huge Carolina Panthers fan, I am keenly aware of the excellent talent level in the South. All four teams could potentially be contenders for the playoffs, so every game counts. Here is a game by game look at how I see the week one games going down in the NFC South:
The "Dirty Birds" will head to Kansas City to take on a powerful Chiefs team that many are picking to be dark horses over in the AFC. With Jamaal Charles returning to the lineup, the Chiefs are a team that you would be wise not to underestimate. With Romeo Crennel leading the way, the team has shown they will respond.
The Falcons, on the other hand, have done plenty of winning. Despite making the playoffs and winning plenty during the regular season, they can't seem to make it happen once the bright lights come on. Matt Ryan is entering his fifth season and he has awesome targets to throw to in Roddy White and Julio Jones. The clock is ticking, however, as Michael Turner and Tony Gonzalez are not getting any younger.
I believe that the Chiefs will play a tough game and nearly knock off the Falcons, but Atlanta will be too strong in the end. With Jones and White making key catches, Atlanta will win this game in a close one.
Washington Redskins @ New Orleans Saints -- 1:00 P.M.
No team looks more different than the Washington Redskins this year and it is not just about Robert Griffin III. Certainly the young quarterback will be what everyone is talking about in Washington, but the Skins appear to be rebuilding all over. After releasing starting running back Tim Hightower, the offense will likely be completely different on opening day than from 2011.
New Orleans has faced more drama since the end of last year than any team and they will be feeling those repercussions all season long. Fortunately, they have one of the best offenses in the league to fall back on with Drew Brees, Mark Ingram and the gang.
This game will be closer than many think, but New Orleans will force several turnovers from the young Redskins. I expect New Orleans to beat up the Redskins and show them that they are still a powerhouse in this league.
The Carolina Panthers enter the 2012 season with brimming optimism with superstar Cam Newton under center leading the way. They have every reason to be optimistic too, having won four of their last six games to end the 2011 season. They also have upgraded their defense and special teams to help prevent the offense from carrying the whole load in 2012.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter the 2012 season off of a highly disappointing 2011. Ironically, the Bucs were where the Panthers are this year in 2011. Things did not go as planned for them, as their young quarterback Josh Freeman struggled and the team finished dead last. They have drafted Doug Martin to solidify their backfield and Vincent Jackson to give Freeman a big target. Many are predicting a nice turnaround in Tampa Bay in 2012.
I am an admitted Carolina Panthers fan and do believe that they will beat the Bucs this time around. The primary reason I say this is because the Bucs will not be able to keep up offensively with the Panthers. While Doug Martin will help a great deal, he will not be enough in the end. The Panthers win this one going away in my view.
*Southern is a huge Carolina Panthers fan that is convinced that he will see a Super Bowl Trophy in Charlotte within five years.
More from this contributor:
- Why the First Five Games Are Vital to the Carolina Panthers in 2012: Fan's Opinion
- Three Major Problems for the 2012 Carolina Panthers Entering the Final Preseason Game: Fan's View
- Five Positives for the Carolina Panthers After Beating the New York Jets: 2012 NFL Preseason Fan's Take
- Carolina Panthers Rookie Josh Norman Backing Up His Trash Talking: Fan's Opinion
- Grading the Rookies for the Carolina Panthers After Preseason Week One: Fan's Opinion