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Drew Brees: NFC South battle 'just kicked up a notch'

Drew Brees didn't make the All-Decade team, but one of the two quarterbacks who did make it just entered his division.

Tom Brady's arrival in Tampa makes for an interesting NFC South, vaulting the Buccaneers into legitimate consideration for the crown, and they'll have to battle Brees' Saints to get there. It's not a two-horse race, either -- Atlanta's Matt Ryan and Carolina's Teddy Bridgewater also loom as under-center threats.

"Yeah, well, the division just got a little bit better, didn't it?" Brees said Wednesday during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "And in addition to that, Teddy Bridgewater, who played so well for us with the Saints last year when I got hurt, he's now the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. So our division has Teddy Bridgewater, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan and myself with the Saints. It's always been a challenging division and it just kicked up a notch."

Bridgewater's play in place of Brees proved he can be a quality starter, making that four in the division. There isn't a weakness at the position; now, it's just a matter of deciding who's best.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn wisely took the company-man approach to answering such a question.

"NFC South has turned into Quarterback South," Quinn said, per ESPN's Vaughn McClure. "That's Matt [Ryan], No. 1. ... I think that makes the division more competitive. It will be a battle, man."

In the pantheon of quarterbacks, Brady and Brees own high-ranking spots. Ryan won an MVP in 2016, however he's not at the same level as the other two. Bridgewater is on even less stable footing, but after overcoming a potentially career-ending knee injury, he still has plenty of time left to establish a rhythm and elevate his game to a comparable mark.

How that plays out in the NFC South remains to be seen. We can promise one thing, though: Plenty of eyes will be trained on the division in 2020.

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