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NFC South Standings, Week 11: Striation strikes

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The division isn't decided yet, but it's pretty clear that there are only two teams gunning for the division crown. It would take a major change of fortune to take Carolina and Atlanta out of contention for the NFC South, and to get the Buccaneers and Saints into it.

There are only two contenders left in the NFC South, and that's only if you count the Falcons as a contender. The Panthers are far and away the most likely team to win the division, they're enjoying their best start in franchise history, and the Falcons are scuffling right now.

NFC South Standings

Panthers: 9-0
Falcons: 6-3
Buccaneers: 4-5

Saints: 4-6

This was an impressive win by the Panthers, especially considering the Titans just beat the Saints a week ago. The defense was sharp, especially after the first half, and Cam Newton played one of his best games of the season. Who knows what their ultimate destination is this season, and what this team is going to look like in 2016 and beyond, but they're quite clearly the best team in the NFC South and one of the best teams in football right now. Excuse me while I vomit.

The Falcons have had a much-needed bye week to sort out a lackluster offense and try to improve the pass rush, and if they do those things, they'll hang around. Catching Carolina is going to take a lot more than just modest improvement, sadly.

The Buccaneers won and aren't technically out of it, but they're just not good enough yet to contend on a week-to-week basis against quality teams, and they're two games behind Atlanta and five games behind Carolina. They're gonna have to look ahead to next year.

At least the Buccaneers are a relatively young team with a bright future ahead. The Saints had climbed back into the hunt, but they've looked defensively inept for weeks, and they're further behind than any team in the division. Couple that with cap woes, rumors of Sean Payton leaving and Drew Brees' advancing age and it looks like this team may be out of contention for a while longer.

Bottom line: The Falcons better get this thing figured out right now if they're expecting to win the South in 2015, because Carolina's not getting any easier to catch.