The 2018 season will end with the Carolina Panthers sitting atop the NFC South for the sixth time since the realignment of the NFL in 2002.
Since realignment in 2002, the NFC South has been the league’s most competitive division. Each team has won at least three division titles — the only division in the league that has that distinction. Three of the four teams have made the playoffs six times, and each of the teams has represented the NFC in the Super Bowl (with the Carolina Panthers going twice).
Don’t expect any difference from the past. Unlike 2017, though, only one playoff team will come from the division.
In Carolina, the Panthers have three legitimate weapons on offense — Cam Newton, Christian McCaffrey, and D.J. Moore. Two of them are young, but they can make a big splash in this division.
Moore gives the Panthers explosiveness on the outside, and McCaffrey can be more of running threat as a second-year player than he was as a rookie. He was already a threat in the passing game as a rookie. If Newton is more accurate — something new offensive coordinator Norv Turner thinks he can help him with — this offense could be a freight train.
Newton’s improved accuracy, even if it’s just slightly improved, will be the difference. The combination of Newton, Moore, and McCaffrey will become tough to stop as the season rolls along. It will be a fearsome threesome.
The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints may win 10 games each, and this division may even come down to tiebreakers. However, the Panthers are the best of the bunch after a solid offseason, and will go into the postseason with plenty of firepower.