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; hopefully we’ll be able to bask in their failures together.
This article series’ sole purpose will be to take a look at the weekly performances of the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers and to look at how the NFC South is shaping up week in and week out.
Kansas City Chiefs 33, Carolina Panthers 31
In a game that many predicted wouldn’t be very close, the Carolina Panthers went toe to toe with the defending champions, and they came a very long field away from escaping Arrowhead Stadium with a win.
Carolina delivered an initial right hook in the form of back to back touchdown drives to start the game, forcing Kansas City to play from behind right away. Christian McCaffrey’s return from IR was a clear boost to a Panther team that gave him 28 touches in a true workhorse role.
After the Chiefs settled in, they went on a 23-3 run to completely take a stranglehold of this one. They scored touchdowns on three consecutive drives in the second half to power their victory.
Carolina didn’t give in, however, as they had two consecutive touchdowns of their own in the fourth quarter, and a final drive to nearly win it following a defensive stop. They lined up Joey Slye for what would have been an NFL-record 67-yard field goal with the last play of the game, but it went wide right.
Patrick Mahomes continues lighting the league on fire. He had 372 passing yards, four passing touchdowns and no interceptions. There was no semblance of a run game, as Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s 14 rushing yards led the team. Travis Kelce was the leading receiver with 159 yards, but it was Tyreek Hill who secured two touchdowns in addition to his own 100+ yard receiving game.
Teddy Bridgewater was excellent as well, throwing for 310 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and no interceptions. He also added a rushing score to his tally. In his return, McCaffrey had 151 yards from scrimmage as well as two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving). Curtis Samuel was team leader in receiving with 105 yards as well as a touchdown.
New Orleans Saints 38, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7
In what was supposed to be an epic Sunday night showcase of the two best teams in the NFC South, the New Orleans Saints absolutely bludgeoned Tom Brady and the Bucs for the second time this season.
You could not have drawn up a worse start for what was expected to be a potent Buccaneers offense with the addition of Antonio Brown. Tampa went three and out on their first four consecutive drives, then Brady threw an interception, then they had a turnover on downs and then Brady threw another pic. That was all they did in the first half.
The Saints, meanwhile, scored on all but one of their drives in the first half, moving the ball against what was an elite defense with ease. They had four touchdowns and a field goal. They even came a yard away from scoring on their only non-scoring drive.
The second half was a mere formality, as this was a game where the Saints delivered an emphatic message that they are indeed still the kings of this division, not yet dethroned.
Drew Brees had a modest 222 passing yards, but that went along with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Tayson Hill was the leading rusher with 54 yards. Michael Thomas, in his return, led the team with 51 receiving yards.
Brady was horrendous — 209 passing yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. The Bucs registered five carries throughout the entire evening, for a combined eight rushing yards. Mike Evans had a game high 64 receiving yards.
NFC South Standings after Week 8
1. New Orleans Saints (6-2 overall record; 3-0 division record) - Next vs. 49ers
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3 overall record; 1-2 division record) - Next at Panthers
3. Atlanta Falcons (3-6 overall record; 1-1 division record) - Next BYE
4. Carolina Panthers (3-6 overall record; 1-3 division record) - Next vs. Buccaneers