Atlanta's in an odd spot this week, where the team is simultaneously 6-2 and not where we hoped they'd be with that record. It's worth wondering how much better the Falcons will be if they get the kinks worked out, so they're far from out of the NFC South race, let alone the playoff race. Let's take a closer look at the NFC South.
NFC South Standings
It was another uneven effort, but the Panthers dispatched the Colts on a rainy night, and wound up remaining undefeated for yet another week. Say what you will about winning ugly, but if you keep doing it indefinitely, it's pretty beautiful. This team is bound to slip up sooner or later, considering they have long stretches of middling football and Newton has his share of turnovers, but they're a good football team and they'll be in the playoffs. Sadly.
The Falcons are playing poorly right now, and are a little lucky to be 6-2. That certainly gives them the opportunity to right the ship in a competitive NFC, but what should be obvious is that cutting out the turnovers and mistakes is the only way they're going to stay in the hunt going forward. There's enough talent here to keep the good times rolling if
Next time I attempt to bury the Saints, please stop me. They've found their way since the win over Atlanta, putting up big point totals and generally looking like the Saints of yore despite the huge personnel changes they've seen over the last year. They certainly could regress back to where they were earlier this year, but I'm going to be watching them warily.
The Buccaneers aren't dead, either. I was not extremely impressed by their game against the Falcons, which featured a sort of middling day from Jameis Winston, Doug Martin, and the defense, but it was enough to win, and they're still in it. If they can actually improve on the defensive side of the ball (and not just snatch a few turnovers here and there), they could make a second half run.