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Briefly Handicapping The NFC South

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Pretty self-explanatory. Thought I'd take a quick look at how the NFC South is shaping up and whether the Falcons stand any chance of crawling back into the race (hint: no). So without further ado:

Carolina Panthers, 4-3: They put up a good fight early on against the Colts, but in the end they got steamrolled. Steve Smith is utterly wasted in this offense without Delhomme throwing to him, and the David Carr/ Vinny Testaverde tandem terrifies me in all the wrong ways. You can't count them out  because they might just be the best team in the NFC South, but that's more an indictment on the division than anything else. Still, if the passing game gets going and the two-headed running back corps of DeShaungelo Fosilliams ever gets going, it seems pretty likely they'll take the division.
Final Record: 9-7

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4-4: With apologies to Jerry at Buc 'Em, one of my favorite bloggers around these parts, this is a Bucs team that strikes me as being worse than its record indicates. They put up a good fight against the Jaguars, but the running game has to be a concern going forward. Earnest Graham has filled in admirably, but Cadillac Williams was an integral piece of that offense. Speaking of integral pieces, I bet Garcia wishes he was throwing to a better group of wide receivers. At least the defense is good, but I think the Saints are going to surge past them sooner than later.
Final Record: 7-9

New Orleans Saints, 3-4: After inexplicably starting out the season like crap, the Saints are gearing up in a big way. The loss of Deuce hurt them, especially with All-Overrated Team Captain Reggie Bush now leading the way, but they're still a good enough team to triumph. I think they'll win at least six games the rest of the way and seriously challenge the Panthers for the division title, and it's very possible they'll just pass them at some point. Still, with that pass defense, I think I'll go with some good ol' fashioned guarded optimism.
Final Record: 9-7

Atlanta Falcons, 1-6: Honesty is the best policy, so let's face it: this team is in rough shape. Petrino has started to and should continue to remake the team and see what he's got, because it's going to take a drastic improvement to get this team within sniffing distance of the NFC South crown. I love the steps forward the defense has taken this year, but it's going to take a shakeup and some additions on the offensive line to get it done on offense. Let's hope they surprise the hell out of me.
Final Record: 5-11