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The State Of The NFC South, Week 4: All Is Darkness and Fire

Is this all there is?

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The NFC South is typically one of the most competitive divisions in football, and sure enough, all four teams are within one game of one another. Let's take a quick gander at the standings, shall we?

Panthers: 2-2
Falcons: 2-2
Saints: 1-3
Buccaneers: 1-3

My God.

The NFC South has been an unmitigated tire fire thus far in 2014, and to look upon the futility of the four teams contained within is to chance madness. The Panthers have a weak offensive line, secondary and receiving corps, and appear to be backsliding mightily after a fine start. Our Falcons have one of the worst defenses in football. The Saints look surprisingly anemic and inept. The Buccaneers, despite their victory over the Steelers this week, are one of the worst teams in football.

This is shaping up to be a year when 10-6 or 9-7 is enough to win the South, which is baffling given the quality of teams that typically come out of the division. You may say that four games is too small of a sample size to make such a sweeping statement, but we've all seen these four teams play. They are seriously flawed.

The good news is that the Falcons aren't dead in the water despite two of the ugliest road losses you're going to see in the NFL, and it may take little more than staying reasonably healthy (fingers crossed for Joe Hawley) and actually fielding a semi-competent defense to stay in the thick of the race right through January. We'll have to hope they can get there, because this feels like the kind of season where you shouldn't squander an opportunity.

Your thoughts on the state of the South?