Home team shmome team. Delhomme is overrated and Steve Smith is between T.O. and Ocho Cinco in terms of everything I hate about NFL receivers(except at least Ocho is faster than a horse). Thought I'd mention that.
4. Atlanta - No need to explain, right? Lots of excitement about Matt Ryan, but there's just too much mess for the Falcons to do well.
3. Carolina - The good news for the Panthers is that Julius Peppers has, from what I've read, looked good in the preseason. The bad news is that it's just the preseason. The offense may be built around Steve Smith but, unless he learns to throw the ball to himself and not punch his teammates, hinges on Jake Delhomme. He's proven himself fragile and streaky. So Carolina finishes out of the hunt in spite of being a dangerous team.
2. Tampa Bay - Gruden has his Bucs team put together the same way as last year's AFC South champs(solid defense and a thousand questions at quarterback), so they should compete for a wild card spot. Why only a wild card spot?
1. New Orleans - I don't at all expect last season's slow start from this team. They can easily win 7 or 8 of their first 10 games, even. Their two hardest games (Vikings and Chargers) both come in the Superdome, even. Still, the team isn't invincible, and I expect a few losses that none of us will be able to explain and then a couple more as the Panthers, the Buccaneers, and Saints beat on each other to the tune of no bye week for New Orleans.