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NFC South standings, Week 12: Oh no, it hurts

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The Falcons are four games behind the Panthers.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

All you need to know about the NFC South race this season is that it has officially stopped being a race. Atlanta's four games down, Tampa Bay is five games behind, and the Panthers remain undefeated. You can more or less stick a fork in anyone else's chances, and the Falcons and Buccaneers will now be fighting for a wild card spot.

Because I don't feel like lauding Carolina (surprise!), let's get right into the standings.

NFC South Standings

Panthers: 10-0
Falcons: 6-4
Buccaneers: 5-5
Saints: 4-6

The Panthers survived a shaky start and thumped Washington en route to 10-0, and they officially own the NFC South now. I don't know how they'll fare in the playoffs just yet, but they're good enough to win this and make some noise once we get there, thanks to (repeat after me) Cam Newton and the defense. A grudging tip of the cap to them.

The Falcons are in second place and still have time to get this turned around, but as noted this morning, there's no indication they're going to figure out what's ailing them enough to remain in the hunt much longer. If they do sort this out and start playing like a competent football team, they're very much in the wild card picture, but after six straight lackluster weeks, no one's counting on that.

The Buccaneers, meanwhile, are on the rise. Jameis Winston played a terrific game, they're overcoming their generally lousy defense, and they could actually force their way into the playoff if they can stay hot. I'm as upset about that as you are.

The Saints are only two games behind the Falcons, but they're basically dead in the water. Don't expect them to win the division or hang around in the playoff hunt much longer, and it'll be an interesting offseason in New Orleans.