Computer and brains: Saints win NFC South

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
8:19
AM ET
On Thursday, we showed you our season previews and predictions for all four NFC South teams.

Now, let’s take a look at predictions from another perspective. Let’s turn to AccuScore’s season predictions (note: All 32 teams are on here, so you’ll need to hit the arrow on your left or right to navigate to the team you want to see).

For the record, let’s tell you these predictions are touted as coming from “wisdom provided by the big brains and powerful computers of AccuScore’’ My predictions came only from a very small brain, which mostly was playing hunches, and the only time a computer was used was when I transported the predictions to Bristol for packaging on these pages.

Anyway, what AccuScore had to say on the NFC South teams was pretty different from what I said and from what our panel of experts said.

AccuScore says the New Orleans Saints will go 12-4 and gives them a 52.5 percent chance of winning the division and a 63.5 percent chance of making the playoffs. I had the Saints going 11-5 and winning the division, but the consensus of our panel of experts was that the Saints would finish second to the Falcons.

AccuScore has a pretty big surprise in second place. The computers and big brains have the Carolina Panthers finishing second at 9-7 and says they have a 22.4 percent chance of winning the NFC South and a 33.6 percent chance of making the playoffs. I also had the Panthers going 9-7, but I joined the consensus of the panel of experts and had them finishing third in the division.

AccuScore was surprisingly unkind to the Atlanta Falcons, who were the choice to win the division by the panel of experts, although I had the Falcons finishing second at 10-6. AccuScore says the Falcons will go 8-8 with a 21.8 percent chance of winning the division and a 33.1 percent chance of reaching the playoffs. I can’t help but wonder if the computer has seen what Matt Ryan and Julio Jones have looked like this preseason.

Finally, AccuScore is particularly harsh on the Bucs. I’m projecting they win six games and joined the expert panel in putting them fourth in the NFC South. But AccuScore sees a dim season for the Bucs, predicting they go 2-14. They’re given a 3.3 percent chance of winning the division and a 6.2 percent chance of making the playoffs. That’s a two-win drop from last season. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see the Bucs being worse than last year with coach Greg Schiano and free-agent pickups Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks and Eric Wright. The Bucs might end up finishing last in the division, but I’m pretty sure they’ll win more than two games.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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NFC SOUTH SCOREBOARD