These Atlanta Falcons have an absolutely gigantic lead on the rest of the teams in the NFC South. Savor that.
That's a four game lead. The Saints, you'll recall, started the year 0-4. Only one team in the history of the NFL, the mighty 1992 San Diego Chargers, has ever made the playoffs after that start. The Saints certainly could make things interesting and even pull it off, but it's not particularly likely.
Beyond them it's even more of a mess. The Buccaneers are incapable of playing a full four quarters on either side of the ball, and Greg Schiano is still finding his feet as an NFL head coach. The talent level there is promising for Bucs fans, but it's not going to get the job done in 2012.
The Panthers are in an even worse spot. They were a sneaky pick to make some noise in the NFC South this year, with a veteran defense and Cam Newton under center. Instead, they've imploded, lost a few squeakers and now the locker room appears to be a hostile place. Unless Newton is, you know, an actual crazy person.
My point here is not to jinx or to count falcons before they hatch, but to point out what an excellent place the Falcons are in right now. With five games against the NFC South still to go, they have that four game lead and a perfect record, and they get to storm the league with a week's rest under their belt, starting with a highly dysfunctional Eagles team this coming Sunday. You couldn't really ask for much more through the first seven weeks of the season.
So let's enjoy what's ahead. What are your predictions for the NFC South now?