Hitting the NFC South links

The Buccaneers have been doing a lot of marketing as they try to avoid local television blackouts in the regular season. Maybe a little bit of the marketing budget went toward the new contract the Bucs gave Donald Penn. The left tackle is doing his best to encourage fans to show up at Raymond James Stadium.

NFC North colleague Kevin Seifert has a column on what the Vikings think about New Orleans’ defensive pressure. He points out the Vikings put up a ton of yards in the NFC Championship Game and Brett Favre even says he thought Minnesota handled the pressure well. As for all that talk about late hits and cheap shots, I’ve got one suggestion for the Vikings if they want to keep Favre upright and healthy: Block.

In a radio interview with Pete Prisco in Jacksonville, Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan said the Falcons like being in the same division as the Super Bowl champion Saints.

Ready to make your picks for the Week 1 games? SportsNation has its Pick ‘em ballot up.

Sounds like new Tampa Bay punter Chris Bryan has been hopping all over the globe the past few days. He’s from Australia, so go ahead with the kangaroo jokes.

Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman said his thumb is ready to go for Sunday’s opener with Cleveland.

Joseph Person has a good feature on Carolina defensive tackle Andre Neblett, who overcame some long odds to make the roster as an undrafted rookie.