Week 4 was another odd one, with several teams getting upset and other teams coming out flat. The NFC South was no different, and the Falcons were the victims this time around. Atlanta’s loss, coupled with wins by the other three teams in the division, have suddenly closed the gap for two teams in the division. It’s too early to be concerned, obviously, but the division is shaping up to be potentially competitive down the stretch.
Let’s take a closer look at the standings after Week 4 and how each NFC South team fared in their respective game.
NFC South Standings - Week 4
Atlanta Falcons 3-1
Carolina Panthers 3-1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-1
New Orleans Saints 2-2
This was an eventful week for the division. The Falcons dropped a pretty poor game to the Bills at home, but hold the tiebreaker over the Panthers. Carolina defeated the Patriots in New England, which is mind-boggling. The Saints dominated what appears to be an awful Dolphins team in London. Tampa Bay struggled all game against the 0-4 Giants, eventually pulling out a two-point win. This makes the NFC South the only division in the NFL with all four teams at .500 or better.
New Orleans Saints 20 - Miami Dolphins 0
In a truly strange game, the Saints shut out the Dolphins in London. The Dolphins’ defense actually kept the Saints largely in check until the second half, but Jay Cutler and the offense were completely ineffective. Drew Brees was efficient, with 268 yards passing and two TDs, but the Saints’ running game continues to be a weakness. Alvin Kamara appears to be a major factor, as he was second on the team in receiving yardage and rushing yardage. The Dolphins might be one of the worst teams in the NFL after losing back-to-back games in embarrassing fashion.
Carolina Panthers 33 - New England Patriots 30
Carolina took advantage of what appears to be the worst defense in the league, and the Patriots couldn’t quite pull off the comeback attempt. Cam Newton and the Panthers’ offense looked better in the second half after struggling early in the game. Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess have stepped up in Greg Olsen’s absence, and the running game found success. The Patriots’ offense had little trouble moving the ball throughout the game, but their defense is a huge liability. It’s clear that they’re vulnerable, particularly against good offenses.
New York Giants 23 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25
In what was a thoroughly unimpressive performance, the Bucs managed to escape with a win over the 0-4 Giants when Nick Folk hit a FG late in the fourth quarter to make it 25-23. Folk actually missed two FG attempts earlier in the game—this is clearly still an issue for Tampa. The Bucs struggled to contain a Giants offense that has been wholly ineffective through the early part of the season, but Jameis Winston and the offense managed to put together a pretty solid performance. Winston threw for 332 yards and 3 TDs, with TE Cameron Brate and TE O.J. Howard the recipients of two of the TDs. Tampa has the pieces to put together a competent squad, but it’s still unclear how this team will fare week-to-week.
What are your thoughts on the division after Week 4? Any concerns with the Panthers and Bucs closing the gap on the Falcons? Teams you’re worried about down the stretch?