Week seven of the NFL is underway and the NFC South is still open for the taking. The New Orleans Saint sit atop but Carolina is one game out of first place, and Tampa and Atlanta are two games behind. Divison games will start become those very hard fought games we all enjoy in November and December soon enough. Here’s whats going on in the NFC South ahead of week seven.
New Life in Atlanta
Sadly, there is a new life in Atlanta. After a terrible 1-4 start, the Falcons now have a realistic path back into the playoff race within the NFC South. This all started with a critical win over the Bucs on Sunday. Now they are 2-4 with four winnable games on the horizon. This includes games against the Giants, Washington, Cleveland and Dallas. I expect Atlanta and their high powered offense to win all of these games. If this is indeed the case, the Falcons would improve to 6-4 with six games to go.
This makes the Bucs’ loss on Sunday that much more painful. They had a chance to really bury this team and put them behind the eightball, and instead they let them off the hook. This is a loss that hurt on Sunday, but the results of this game will come back to haunt the Bucs come playoff time when these two teams are both fighting for a postseason berth.
Coming Back to Earth?
Carolina missed a big opportunity last Sunday. Instead of moving to 4-1 with a share of the lead in the NFC South, they lost to a bad Washington team and are now left to think of what could have been. But that’s not the worst of it. The worst of it is that things are about to get much harder.
The Panthers next five games are at Philadelphia, vs Baltimore, vs Tampa Bay, at Pittsburgh, and at Detroit. Those are five very difficult games and I’m not sure the Panthers will be favored in any of these contests. Best case scenario is what, 2-3? It’s hard for me to see anything better than that over the next five weeks for Carolina. Last week was the Panthers chance to get ahead of the curve and they let it slip through their fingers.
Ginn is Gone
It may have been the Saints bye week, but that doesn’t mean they escaped bad news. Starting wide receiver Ted Ginn has been placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. Ginn had 135 receiving yards on the season and a pair of touchdowns. His speed and big play ability will be missed by this Saints offense. Perhaps even more so, the depth he provided will be missed.
It will now be up to guys like Cameron Meredith and Tre’Quan Smith to step up and take the number two receiver job opposite of Michael Thomas. Those aren’t exactly names that will strike fear into the hearts of opposing defense. This isn’t the biggest loss the Saints could have experienced, but it’s certainly isn’t minor.