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Here is the 2021 Pro Football Betting Guide preview for the NFC South.
THE FAVORITE: TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Tampa Bay is looking to become the first team since 2003-04 to win back-to-back Lombardi Trophies. The last team to do that was the New England Patriots, led, of course, by Tom Brady. Brady is one of 22 starters who return in the Bucs’ quest to repeat. The Bucs are the only team in the salary-cap era, which started in 1994, to return all 22 starters from a Super Bowl win and the first team to do it since 1977. At 43, Brady threw for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns capped by a fifth Super Bowl MVP award — with new teammates and no preseason. Not only do all starters return, so do both coordinators, Byron Leftwich on offense and Todd Bowles on defense. Continuity is on Tampa Bay's side, but is history?
Last year was a tale of two seasons for the Bucs. They started a solid if pedestrian 7-5, did not win their division, yet won four straight games to end the regular season and then four games in the playoffs to become just the seventh wild card to win the Super Bowl. With the Saints retooling, the Falcons having a new coach and coordinators and the Panthers breaking in a new starting QB, the Bucs are the clear favorites to win the division title.
LIVE DOG: CAROLINA PANTHERS
While New Orleans is still the second choice in the division, the Panthers look to be the potential upstart. Carolina is in its second season under coach Matt Rhule, offensive coordinator Joe Brady and defensive boss Phil Snow. The Panthers added two important pieces with new starting QB Sam Darnold and new GM Scott Fitterer, who spent 20 years in the Seahawks’ front office. Getting out of New York is probably the best thing for Darnold. He is still just 24, and Carolina looks like a good spot to revitalize his career. The Panthers will look for a rebound from RB Christian McCaffrey, who played in only three games last season due to ankle and shoulder injuries.