After beating the Atlanta Falcons, Steve Smith called the NFC South a finesse division. That's not a cheap barb or one of the Steve Smith loudmouthed one-liners that he's given us during his career. It's true. The NFC South has been completely out-muscled by their AFC North opponents in 2014.
The Ravens defensive line has had little struggles in getting to the quarterback this season. If they haven't been able to sack the quarterback, they either get a hit or at the very least have pressured him into making a poor throw. The Ravens have been able to stop the run of the NFC South and pretty much make their homes in the offensive backfield. The Ravens have also shut down the elite weapons that the NFC South likes to boast: Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, Greg Olsen, Kelvin Benjamin, Jimmy Graham, Julio Jones, and Roddy White.
Defensively, NFC South teams are worse. The NFC South teams struggled to stop the Ravens run, as they have had over 100 yards in games against Atlanta, Carolina, Tampa Bay and New Orleans. Even worse for the NFC South, teams have struggled to get to Joe Flacco which has caused secondaries, with all four struggling with tackling, to get burned by Torrey Smith and Steve Smith, the latter of which has terrorized the NFC South for all of his career now.
And it starts with the draft. The Saints, Buccaneers, and Panthers all drafted wide receivers in the first round, opting to go with skill position players over the big uglies, decisions that they surely regret, considering that Tampa Bay and Carolina have atrocious offensive lines and the Saints can't stop the run at all.