After one week of play within the NFC South, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers are unbeaten and looking for their next win.
The NFC South opened week one with the Atlanta Falcons getting beat up. Not just on the scoreboard, where they lost 18-12, but also they were literally physically beat up. This week it was announced that safety Keanu Neal and linebacker Deion Jones would go on the injured reserve list. Both were pro bowl players last year a tough loss so early in the season.
Neal, one of the more physical safeties in the game, will be out the entire year with a torn ACL. His tackling production is irreplaceable, having racked up more than 100 in each of his first two seasons. Jones also recorded 100+ tackles in his first two seasons and was primed for a big third year. Luckily for Falcons fans, Jones may be able to return from his foot injury this season. He will be out at least eight weeks before he can return.
Victory at a Price
The Panthers were the only other team in the division, besides the Buccaneers, to win their game this week. They shut down the Cowboys and won 8-16. A very impressive showing by the defense, but not so much on the offensive end. That’s a trend that will likely continue.
Carolina lost a pair of key contributors from the offense on Sunday. Tight end Greg Olsen fractured his foot and will miss “several weeks”. He will try to put off surgery until the off-season, but it’s a tough injury to come back from through just rest.
Daryl Williams also went down with injury on Sunday. After getting hurt in training camp it had been though he’d miss significant time to start the year. He managed to work his way back well ahead of schedule only to injury his knee in the game. He is on injured reserve and done for the year.
Marching on the Saints
At this point we all know exactly what happened to the Saints over the weekend. In case you somehow missed it, the Bucs hung 48 points on a defense that had been fairly respected in a big divisional win. For the Saints, a great big helping of disappointment. Although, if you ask them, they’d call it a wake up call.
After many people projected the Saints to go to the super bowl this year there was a lot of hype with this New Orleans team. This peaked when the Saints were projected as a ten point favorite over the Bucs in week one. A lot of Saints players and fans feel like they can get back on track quickly, especially with an impending game against Cleveland. They feel they can still be a super bowl team, but we’ll have to keep a close eye on that defense. The Saints defense should be able to bounce back on Sunday, but trouble on Sunday doesn’t bode well for them.