When talking about NFL football, most people like to talk about the quarterback. However, I like to talk about the other side of the ball as well. A lot of the times, defenses do not get enough recognition to a team’s success. Especially if that team has a star under center. In the NFC South, much can be said about the defenses. Who has the best defense in the NFC South? Well, let us take a look at each defense and offer that opinion at the end.
New Orleans Saints
In 2017, the Saints finished the season with the 17th ranked defense in the NFL. While not spectacular, it was good enough to win the NFC South and make the playoffs. Their secondary was much improved in 2017. Vonn Bell was in his second season and the addition of Marshon Lattimore on the other side made it tough for opposing QBs.
In 2018 the New Orleans Saints look to be better with the pass rush. The moved up in the draft to pass rushing specialist Marcus Davenport. They hope is that this addition will help improve on the 72 team sacks they had in 2017.
The Falcons were a top 10 defense in 2017. In fact, they finished 9th and also made the playoffs. If they can stay healthy, they have one of the best young nuclei’s a defense can ask for. Players like Vic Beasley, Keanu Neal, and Desmond Trufant lead the way. As a matter of fact, this defense has six first or second rounders that contribute to their success. The Falcons should at or near the top of the division again thanks to this young group of playmakers.
If it was not for the defense of the Carolina Panthers, I do not believe they would have made the playoffs. This defense was one of the most underrated all of 2017. They finished 7th in the NFL. Their secondary, or lack thereof, made it difficult for them to keep teams out of the end zone. Thus, they attempted to improve that area with the selection of Donte Jackson in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Ron Rivera always has his guys playing well and the same should be said in 2018.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs were the worst defensive team in 2017. They gave up an average of 380 yards per game. Mike Smith’s defense also gave up 24 points per game. While that may not seem like a lot, it enough when your offense is only averaging 20 points per game.
The 2018 Bucs improved their front seven. The selection of Vita Vea in the first round was fantastic. Putting him alongside Jason Pierre-Paul and Gerald McCoy gives the Bucs a front four that needs not to be taken lightly. It will once again be the secondary that will trouble Tampa Bay.
In my opinion, the Atlanta Falcons have the best defense in the NFC South. Their young nucleus brings them to the top. While statistically, they may have finished just below the Panthers, this young team is primed to do good things in 2018.
Who do you think has the best defense in the NFC South? Leave a comment below.
Follow Sean on Twitter and Instagram for all of your NFL news and notes @NFLWBLZ.