Clayton: NFC South becoming best

I just got off the phone with colleague John Clayton. We were talking about some things that could happen after the lockout and I forgot to tell him something important before we hung up. I’m sure I’ll talk to John again today.

BreesBreesWhen I do, I’m going to thank him -- and I’ll do it on behalf of all of you. Here in the NFC South, a lot of fans seem to have a bit of an inferiority complex. The general feeling is the division sometimes gets overlooked on a national level. There might be some truth to that since the “NASCAR Division’’ isn’t filled with huge-market teams.

But the NFC South has had a pretty good run lately. The Saints won the Super Bowl at the end of the 2009 season. Last season, the Falcons, Saints and Buccaneers all reached double-digits in wins. I like to say the NFC South is the best division in the NFL, but I might be biased.

Clayton covers the league at large and, in his latest mailbag, he had high praise for the NFC South.

“The NFC South is turning into a marathon, not a sprint,’’ Clayton said. “It's becoming the best division in football because of (Drew) Brees, (Matt) Ryan and (Josh) Freeman. It's only going to get better once Cam Newton develops. Part of the problem for Brees and the Saints last year was that the Saints played their toughest games on the road while the Falcons' toughest games were at home. Don't be surprised if the Saints win the division this year, and Ryan and the Falcons get a wild card. We'll see where the Bucs finish, but I think you're going be seeing at least two teams make the playoffs from the NFC South.''