The Atlanta Falcons lost to the Eagles yesterday, and that could have been extremely costly for
NFC South Standings
Atlanta’s loss stung less because of what it did to the standings—they still have a healthy lead in the division—than the manner in which it happened. The Falcons were outgunned by a solid but unspectacular Philadelphia offense, which controlled the tempo of the game. The fact that they were not great on offense was not particularly encouraging, either, but given injuries and the fact that Philly is good at home, I’m not going to declare the season over.
The Saints looked like they might pull out a win, but they dropped it late, putting them at 4-5 and in need of a strong run to close out the season yet again. Like the Falcons, their offense can carry them a long way, but also like the Falcons, their defense is a potentially significant limiting factor. Being a little ways back in the division makes their road that much more difficult.
The Buccaneers won easily against a lousy Bears team, gaining a little ground on the Falcons. At this point in the year, it’s hard to argue against the notion that they’re the most significant threat to the NFC South crown, even if they’re a team that only seems to rise to the occasion against mediocre opponents. If they put it together and we saw a sign of things to come from Atlanta yesterday, it’s possible they sneak in. Possible.
The Panthers really blew it. With an opportunity to finally make up some ground in the division, they lost to an (admittedly quality) Kansas City Chiefs game late to drop to 3-6. They’re not completely dead yet—no one is in this crazy year in the NFC—but they’re definitely going to need one hell of a turnaround to catch up.
Your best reason for optimism, besides this being a weird, flat game for the Falcons, is that the rest of the division continues to be thoroughly mediocre. May that continue.