As the NFC South heads into week four of the 2018 NFL Season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still sole owners of the Division with slightly a better conference record than the rest of the teams.
Panthers Big Move
On Thursday, the Carolina Panthers signed free agent safety Eric Reid. This was a move that most around the football world took notice of. Not because he is a great player, but because many thought he wouldn’t play again due to his protests towards the national anthem. While this has many layers of significance, I’d like to keep things focused on a football perspective, for now.
Reid is a strong safety in the prime of his career. He is as physical as they come and he has the ability to make a real impact against the run. However, Reid is not a particularly good guy to have in coverage. He lacks top end speed and can take some bad angles, which will lead to big plays. He’s the typical enforcer that some question if they can survive in this league. This may be a nice moment for social justice and he’s the best option that was available at this point in the season. This wasn’t a signing that moves the needle for me.
Another One Bites the Dust
The Atlanta Falcons’ defense has had it’s share of injuries this year. They’ve lost linebacker Deion Jones for at least half the season and starting safety Keanu Neal for the year. This week they added another name to the list of guys who would miss significant time.
Starting safety Ricardo Allen is done for the season. He tore his achilles in the Falcons’ loss to the New Orleans Saints this past Sunday. This means Atlanta will be without both their starting safeties for most of the season. Allen is much more of a cover safety than Neal is, and he had already matched his interception total from last year in just three games this season. It’s getting to the point to where I’m questioning if the Falcons can overcome all these big injuries.
The Saints are Marching In
Oh how things can change in a week! After being shredded by the Buccaneers in week one, and pushed to the brink by the Cleveland Browns in week two, the Saints suddenly find themselves with a share of the NFC South lead. They are 2-1 and are now in control of their own destiny.
A thrilling 43-37 win in Atlanta has started to give shape to the NFC South. The Saints are now in second place (losing the tie breaker to the Bucs) and the Falcons have dug themselves into a hole to start the season. With New Orleans traveling to take on the Giants in week four, it seems they are in a great position to move to 3-1.
It’s up to the Bucs to try to keep pace with them.