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Examining the Over/Under 2016 Win Totals for the NFC South


Josh Norman has taken his talents to Washington D.C., leaving a hole in Carolina's defense. I don't think it'll be enough for another team in the NFC South to take advantage of, but we'll see if New Orleans can overcome a horrendous defense. Atlanta and Tampa Bay can’t be overlooked, but both appear to be more of a work in progress.

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Related: NFL Scouts Talk Anonymously About NFC South Teams

Much like I did with the college football win totals, I will break down the schedules in terms of home and road opponents outside the division. In most situations, I'll give a split to each team in divisional play with them winning at home and losing on the road. Vegas is much more on the ball in the NFL compared to college football so the numbers are a lot sharper.

Note: Over/under odds courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbook

NFC South

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Atlanta Falcons

(Over 7 wins -145, Under 7 wins +115)

Record Last Year: 8-8

Offense: Matt Ryan has struggled this preseason in year under two under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. We know what Julio Jones can provide, but what about Mohamad Sanu and Aldrick Robinson, who will have to step up with the departure of Roddy White. Devonta Freeman broke out in a big way after Tevin Coleman went down with an injury early last season. Now both running backs are healthy and will provide support to Ryan and the passing attack provided the offensive line blocks better.

Defense: This side of the ball is trending upward as, the Falcons continue to add some solid pieces. Dwight Freeney may still have a little bit left in the tank while Keanu Neal is a young stud at safety. Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant are pretty good corners, but this group still needs a little more consistency, especially on the road.

Schedule: Atlanta has a Week 11 bye and before that must deal with three sets of back-to-back road games. The toughest one is probably Weeks 5-6 when the Falcons play at Denver and Seattle. The good thing is that four of their final six are at home.

Prediction: I think the over could be the play here although I'm not that confident in it. I still have questions about Atlanta’s defense and how this team plays outside of the Georgia Dome.

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Carolina Panthers

(Over 10.5 wins EVEN, Under 10.5 wins -120)

Record Last Year: 15-1

Offense: Cam Newton took the next step we were all waiting for and it paid off to the tune of a 15-1 regular season, an MVP award and trip to the Super Bowl. Newton gets 2014 first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin back, which will make a difference although the quarterback made Ted Ginn a serviceable wide receiver. Greg Olsen continues to dominate at tight end while Jonathan Stewart leads a solid group of three running backs.

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Defense: Daryl Worley and James Bradberry are among the names in the cornerback group trying to replace the aforementioned Norman. Luckily for Carolina, the front seven is awesome. Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson are probably the best linebacker group in the league.

Schedule: Carolina has to travel to Seattle, Oakland, Washington and Denver. The Panthers do have two nice stretches of three of four at home. The good thing about the tough road matchups is that the home tilts are easier.

Prediction:I lean to the over in this one as I just think that the Panthers take care of business at home and get just enough road wins to go over the higher total. Newton will be even better with Benjamin healthy.

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New Orleans Saints

(Over 7 wins -130, Under 7 wins +110)

Record Last Year: 7-9

Offense:There's some renewed optimism for this side of the ball as Drew Brees enters his 17th year in the league. Coby Fleener comes over from Indy and we know how much the veteran signal-caller loves using his tight end. Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower are a solid pair in the backfield while people are raving about rookie WR Michael Thomas. If the line can give Brees time, then we may see some of the Saints offense of old which was hard to stop.

Defense: Former coordinator Rob Ryan is gone from New Orleans, but the same defense that lacked talent is still there. The injury to first-round pick Sheldon Rankins before the season even began was devastating. The departure of CB Keenan Lewis hurts the secondary, although he wasn't 100 percent last season to begin with. There's not a lot to like here.

Schedule: The Saints alternate home and road games for the first 12 weeks of the season with a Week 5 bye mixed in. The road trips aren't too terrible with games at Kansas City, Carolina and Arizona. New Orleans gets to host Seattle and Denver in the friendly confines of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Prediction: I like the over. I'll go along with the optimism for the offense and that the defense can do just enough to not lose too many games for New Orleans to bounce back from a disappointing 2015 showing.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(Over 7 wins -129, Under 7 wins -101)

Record Last Year: 6-10

Offense: Jameis Winston should take the next step in his QB progression this year after a solid season in 2015. I'm a little concerned about RB Doug Martin after signing a big deal this offseason, but Charles Sims is a nice complementary back who can catch passes. Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson are a solid duo at WR and TE Austin Sefarian-Jenkins could help if he ever realizes his potential (and stays healthy). As it was last year, the offensive line is the key though in opening holes and keeping Winston upright.

Defense: Gerald McCoy is the leader on this side of the ball. Lavonte David is an excellent linebacker while I'm a fan of Alterraun Verner and first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves at corner. New coordinator (and former Atlanta head coach) Mike Smith has some pieces to work with here.

Schedule: Tampa Bay plays three straight at home from Weeks 8-10 against the Raiders, Falcons and Bears. Those three games are winnable and could be a nice springboard into a road tilt with the Chiefs and then back home against Seattle.

Prediction: I think the over is not a bad play with the Buccaneers. The offense has potential if Winston keeps moving in the right direction and the defense isn't bad either. The schedule lines up nicely for this team to get some momentum midseason.

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.