The NFC South has not shaken out the way many of us imagined it would through the first quarter of the season, which isn't good news for the Falcons. Here's where the division stands today:
That's ugly. The Saints are playing disciplined football, relying on an elite passing game and a surprisingly effective defense to overcome their complete lack of a running game. The Falcons are struggling and dropping close games, while the Panthers are one of the most poorly coached teams in the NFL today. The Buccaneers are a train wreck happening in slow motion over an Indian burial ground.
It's fairly clear at this point that nothing less than a total Saints collapse is going to open up this division for the Falcons or Panthers. The Buccaneers are dead in the water, doomed to fire their coach at minimum and start over in 2014. The Wild Card is still very much in play for the Falcons, at least, but they're going to have to start playing better right now.
So this looks like 2012 with a different team on top thus far. We'll hope for the best, but set your sights on the wild card if you're hopeful.
Thoughts on the division?