It’s common knowledge in sports that, if you take care of your own business, you don’t have to worry about anybody else as far as the standings are concerned.
While this is entirely true, getting some help along the way is never a bad thing. This column will be completely dedicated to the results of the other three NFC South teams throughout the season, and hopefully we’ll be able to bask in their failures together.
Here is how the Falcons’ division opponents fared in Week 2:
What’s going on down in Tampa? Ryan Fitzpatrick, who’s only playing because starting quarterback Jameis Winston is in the middle of a three-game suspension, has been the most impressive QB in the NFC two weeks in.
“Fitzmagic” sliced and diced the vaunted Philadelphia Eagles defense to the tune of 402 passing yards and four touchdowns. The Bucs led by as much as 20 at one point, and managed to fight off a Philly comeback attempt to move to 2-0 on the season.
Tampa Bay was powered by 75+ yard, game-breaking, touchdown catches from DeSean Jackson and OJ Howard in this one, gashing an Eagles defense that stifled the Falcons last week. That same defense gave up 436 yards this week.
I think it’s safe to say that the Bucs have been the surprise team in the NFL two weeks into the new season. After difficult matchups in New Orleans and against the Eagles, Tampa Bay is not only surviving this difficult early-season stretch, but they’re thriving. It would be difficult to see the Bucs putting Fitzpatrick back on the bench after Winston returns.
Zane Gonzalez whyyyyyy?! The New Orleans Saints escaped an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns thanks to a lot of luck. Cleveland’s kicker, Gonzalez, missed two field goals and two extra point attempts, leaving eight points on the board in a game where his team lost by three.
A week after their defense got gashed repeatedly, it was New Orleans’ offense which almost didn’t show up this time around. Even with a late surge which ended up winning them the game, the Saints only managed to muster 275 yards of total offense.
Up by six, with the Browns facing a decisive 4th-and-5 on the back end of the 2-minute warning, New Orleans gave up a 47-yard touchdown catch to Antonio Callaway on a picturesque pass by Tyrod Taylor. With a chance to take the lead, Gonzalez missed the PAT. Following a Field Goal drive by Drew Brees and company, the Browns once again fought their way downfield and gave Gonzalez a chance at redemption in the form of a 52-yard potential game-tying Field Goal. He missed.
The Saints are lucky to have won this game, as the Browns led 12-3 at one point in the fourth quarter. A win is a win, however, and the Saints pulled it out. Michael Thomas scored two more touchdowns to build on his impressive start to the season.
NFC South Standings after Week 2
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0 overall record; 1-0 divisional record) - Next vs. Steelers
- Atlanta Falcons (1-1 overall record; 1-0 divisional record) - Next vs. Saints
- Carolina Panthers (1-1 overall record; 0-1 divisional record) - Next vs. Bengals
- New Orleans Saints (1-1 overall record; 0-1 divisional record) - Next at Falcons