Atlanta Falcons- The Dirty Birds would appear on my short list of possible surprise teams for the upcoming season. Matt Ryan could be looking at a breakout year, after a somewhat mediocre sophomore season. The third year is a popular time for good quarterbacks to breakout. Peyton Manning led the league in yards and touchdowns his third year. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Donovan McNabb all had things figured out by season number three. I predict they overtake the Saints for supremacy of the ever-changing NFC South division.
Carolina Panthers- A possible candidate for the first draft pick come next April (although last time I said that about the Panthas, Rodney Peete led them to a 3-0 start). But the laundry list reads like this: Breaking in a new Quarterback (Matt Moore), no more Julius Peppers, Steve Smith breaking his arm playing flag football (he told me he didn't play…jerk), and Jonathan Stewart has been hurt most of training camp. At least they drafted Dirkness favorite, Eric Norwood, in the 4th round. John Fox has done a lot with a little before, so not all hope is lost in Panthaland.
New Orleans Saints- Just don't seem good enough to repeat. Will have to deal with the more, more, more syndrome (coined by Evil Empire's Sports Guy) after winning the championship (more money, more touches, more competition). Drew Brees, who quietly set an NFL record for completion percentage last season, can cement his name atop the best quarterbacks by proving consistent this year. Repetitive success is a major factor. Peyton and Brady are both on the decline (or should be atleast), and the title is up for grabs this year. For whatever reason I wasn't that into the Super Bowl last year, leading me to completely overlook the significance of a surprise onside kick to start the second half. That may be the ballsiest move in NFL history.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- All of my credibility for projecting Quarterback success in the NFL is on the line with Josh Freeman (thought he'd be terrible), so here's one towards him falling flat on his fro. People said he had a semi-successful freshman season, but dude still had 18 INT's on top of 9 fumbles in 10 games. It's hard to imagine the Bucs making any noise this year, but they could be setting themselves up for the future with a nice foundation of young talent.