The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 30, 2015

2015 NFC South Preview

Rarely does a team win five fewer games than the season before and still make the playoffs, but the Carolina Panthers repeated as NFC South champions in 2014 with a 7-8-1 record following a 12-4-0 finish in 2013.  The Panthers won the division because the New Orleans Saints fell four games off their 2013 pace, the Falcons only improved to 6-10, and the Bucs ended up earning the first pick in the draft.

 

All four teams begin 2015 with key additions.  For Atlanta, it’s a head coach, as Dan Quinn becomes a head coach for the first time after putting together the great Seattle defense.  Carolina hopes it has plugged a leak in their offensive line with the signing of left tackle Michael Oher, while bringing in Ted Ginn, Jr. at receiver.  New Orleans added a cover corner in Brandon Browner, while Tampa Bay had the biggest addition of all–they have Jameis Winston, the league’s top pick.

 

This may be the most difficult division to forecast, as even the weak Bucs have improved enough and have the schedule to challenge for the division title.  Atlanta has the passing game and should be improved defensively, and since 8-8 could win the division, in theory, they only need to improve by two wins.  New Orleans’ defense needs improvement, and the Saints will have to score a lot of points this year.  Bear in mind that Jimmy Graham has left the building.  That leaves Carolina; can the Panthers three-peat?  Yes, it is quite possible, but in reality, this is a team that fell to a losing record last year, and a couple game slide this year could find the Panthers in last place.

ATLANTA FALCONS

Falcons Starting Lineup
Offense
WR Julio Jones
WR Roddy White
WR Leonard Hankerson
TE Jacob Tamme
LT Jake Matthews
LG Mike Person
C Joe Hawley
RG Chris Chester
RT Ryan Schraeder
QB Matt Ryan
HB Devonta Freeman
FB Patrick DiMarco
   
Defense
DE Vic Beasley
DT Ra’Shede Hageman
DT Paul Soliai
DE Tyson Jackson
LB Justin Durant
LB Paul Worrilow
LB Brooks Reed
CB Desmond Trufant
S William Moore
S Ricardo Allen
CB Robert Alford
N5 Jalen Collins
   
Special
Kicker Matt Bryant
Punter Matt Bosher
KR Devin Hester
PR Devin Hester
Atlanta Falcons
Head Coach Dan Quinn
Off. Coordinator Kyle Shanahan
Def. Coordinator Richard Smith
2014 W-L-T 6-10-0
Pts 23.8
Opp 26.1
   
Ratings  
PiRate 95.7
Mean 96.1
Bias 95.8
Average 95.9
   
Grades  
Running C
Passing A-
Vs. Run C
Vs. Pass C-
Special Teams A
Coaching + Intangibles C
   
Predicted W-L 7-9-0
Division Rank 3
Conference Rank 13
Overall Rank 25
Postseason No

 

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Panthers Starting Lineup
Offense
WR Corey Brown
WR Ted Ginn, Jr.
WR Devin Funchess
TE Greg Olsen
LT Michael Oher
LG Andrew Norwell
C Ryan Kalil
RG Trai Turner
RT Mike Remmers
QB Cam Newton
HB Jonathan Stewart
FB Mike Tolbert
   
Defense
DE Charles Johnson
DT Star Lotulelei
DT Kawann Short
DE Kony Ealy
LB A. J. Klein
LB Luke Kuechley
LB Thomas Davis
CB Charles Tillman
S Roman Harper
S Tre Boston
CB Josh Norman
N5 Bene Benwikere
   
Special
Kicker Graham Gano
Punter Brad Nortman
KR Ted Ginn, Jr.
PR Ted Ginn, Jr.
Carolina Panthers
Head Coach Ron Rivera
Off. Coordinator Mike Shula
Def. Coordinator Sean McDermott
2014 W-L-T 7-8-1
Pts 21.2
Opp 23.4
   
Ratings  
PiRate 100.8
Mean 100.0
Bias 101.0
Average 100.6
   
Grades  
Running C-
Passing C
Vs. Run A-
Vs. Pass C+
Special Teams C
Coaching + Intangibles C+
   
Predicted W-L 7-9-0
Division Rank 1
Conference Rank 7
Overall Rank 15
Postseason No

 

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Saints Starting Lineup
Offense
WR Brandin Cooks
WR Marques Colston
WR Brandon Coleman
TE Benjamin Watson
LT Terron Armstead
LG Tim Lelito
C Max Unger
RG Jahri Evans
RT Zach Strief
QB Drew Brees
HB Mark Ingram
FB Austin Johnson
   
Defense
DE Akiem Hicks
DT John Jenkins
DT Kevin Williams
DE Cameron Jordan
LB Hau’oli Kikaha
LB David Hawthorne
LB Dannelle Ellerbe
CB Keenan Lewis
S Kenny Vaccaro
S Jairus Byrd
CB Brandon Browner
N5 Rafael Bush
   
Special
Kicker Zach Hocker
Punter Thomas Morstead
KR C. J. Spiller
PR C. J. Spiller
New Orleans Saints
Head Coach Sean Payton
Off. Coordinator Pete Carmichael
Def. Coordinator Rob Ryan
2014 W-L-T 7-9-0
Pts 25.1
Opp 26.5
   
Ratings  
PiRate 100.1
Mean 95.4
Bias 101.1
Average 98.9
   
Grades  
Running C+
Passing A
Vs. Run C-
Vs. Pass C+
Special Teams C-
Coaching + Intangibles B+
   
Predicted W-L 8-8-0
Division Rank 2
Conference Rank 10
Overall Rank 20
Postseason Yes

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Buccaneers Starting Lineup
Offense
WR Vincent Jackson
WR Mike Evans
WR Louis Murphy
TE Austin Serferian-Jenkins
LT Donovan Smith
LG Logan Mankins
C Evan Dietrich-Smith
RG Garrett Gilkey
RT Patrick Omameh
QB Jameis Winston
HB Doug Martin
FB Jorvorskie Lane
   
Defense
DE Jacquies Smith
DT Gerald McCoy
DT Clinton McDonald
DE George Johnson
LB Danny Lansanah
LB Bruce Carter
LB Lavonte David
CB Alterraun Verner
S Major Wright
S Brad McDougald
CB Johnathan Banks
N5 D. J. Swearinger
   
Special
Kicker Conner Barth
Punter Michael Koenen
KR Kaelin Clay
PR Kaelin Clay
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Head Coach Lovie Smith
Off. Coordinator Dirk Koetter
Def. Coordinator Leslie Frazier
2014 W-L-T 2-14-0
Pts 17.3
Opp 25.6
   
Ratings  
PiRate 92.1
Mean 93.4
Bias 92.0
Average 92.5
   
Grades  
Running D
Passing C+
Vs. Run C
Vs. Pass C
Special Teams C
Coaching + Intangibles C+
   
Predicted W-L 6-10-0
Division Rank 4
Conference Rank 16
Overall Rank 30
Postseason No
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