First glance at 2012 playoff teams

February, 8, 2012
2/08/12
3:02
PM ET
The Super Bowl is over, so that means there’s only one thing to do –--start talking about the 2012 season.

Heck, we’ve already got this Insider post Insider with playoff predictions, based on all sorts of numbers I don’t quite understand. But these were calculated aren’t all that important. They just give us something to talk about, even though these early predictions are very light on NFC South teams headed to the playoffs.

In fact, the projection is that the Saints will be the only division team there. The Saints are projected to go 12-4 and earn the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

Certainly possible, but I think the Saints need to add some personnel to fit new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme before we give them too much credit.

The predictions have the Atlanta Falcons going 9-7 and finishing just out of the playoffs. Entirely possible, but I think it’s just as possible the Falcons take a step forward and go 11-5 or 12-4. This is a very talented team and the additions of new coordinators on offense and defense could freshen things up for the better.

The Carolina Panthers are predicted to go 7-9. Again, that’s possible. But let’s remember, Carolina has an explosive offense with Cam Newton and linebacker Jon Beason and defensive tackle Ron Edwards will be coming back from injuries. Add a few more pieces to the defense and the Panthers easily could jump over the .500 mark.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are projected to go 6-10. I’m not going to agree or argue with that one just yet. We’re still waiting for new coach Greg Schiano to finish hiring his assistant coaches and the Bucs aren’t going to sit nearly as still as last year when it comes to adding personnel.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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