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NFC South

1. Atlanta: The Falcons are primed to make a deep playoff run this season. Like Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan is entering his third season and has a great supporting cast. Atlanta has made the right moves to improve its defense. This is my pick in the NFC to reach the Super Bowl.

2. New Orleans: The biggest obstacle for the Saints is overcoming a major Super Bowl hangover. Few teams can repeat the success from the previous season. Injuries have delivered a hit to New Orleans' linebacker group. Interesting fact against New Orleans: No team has won the division in consecutive seasons in the NFC South's eight-year existence.

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3. Carolina: The Panthers have one of the NFL's best running attacks. But that doesn't help a team that will fall behind early in games. Matt Moore played surprisingly well when he took over as quarterback late in the season. As the losses start to mount, this will be Jimmy Clausen's team by the end of the year.

4. Tampa Bay: The Buccaneers are way too young to compete right now. Quarterback Josh Freeman could be throwing to two rookie wide receivers. Five wins would be a major accomplishment.

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