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NFC South Report: 2021, Week 1

Panthers, Saints, Bucs all get wins; Falcons, uh, don’t.

New York Jets v Carolina Panthers Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

We’re one week into the 2021 regular season, and the Atlanta Falcons are checks notes in last place in the NFC South.

The New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all opened their season with big wins, while the Atlanta Falcons got hurled out of a helicopter into the mouth of a smoldering, vengeful volcano, one demanding and receiving human sacrifice.

No, you really can’t tell much of anything after one week of NFL football (there’s no way the Houston Texans are going to be doing that to teams every week), but it’s always good to know what your opponents are up to regardless. Let’s check in.

New Orleans Saints

New Saints starting quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 148 yards and 5 touchdowns in a rout of the Green Bay Packers in Jacksonville, which is a sentence I don’t think any of us thought would make any sense a few months ago. Yes, the Saints demolished a Super Bowl contender and MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers. While we, y’know, don’t normally care for the Saints, I’m happy for them as they won one for the city of New Orleans after it was hit by Hurricane Ida last month.

The Saints weren’t thought to be much of contenders this year with the roster drama and Drew Brees’ retirement, and we’re still hoping on balance that that’s the case. We’ll see how they progress as the season goes on and if this momentum is real. Sheesh.

Carolina Panthers

Former New York Jets QB Sam Darnold, now in Carolina blue, got the best of his old team in a win over the Big Apple team. Darnold was efficient and threw for a touchdown on top of 279 yards. Now-healthy running back Christian McCaffrey was two yards shy of 100.

The Jets probably won’t be any good this year, and we’re hoping the Panthers aren’t, either. The Darnold experiment is off to a good start in Carolina, however, and we don’t know if the Jets are so bad that that’s a fluke. Uh-oh.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The gags Super Bowl-winning Bucs, led by Tom Brady, (washes eyes out with bleach) defeated the Dallas Cowboys in a Thursday-night thriller to open the season. Father Time hasn’t collected Brady’s youth yet, as he threw for a whopping 379 yards, four touchdowns and two picks against the Dallas defense (now led by former Falcons coach Dan Quinn).

The Bucs clearly will be a problem next week for the Falcons, and if both teams carry over Week 1’s performance, the Falcons will be 0-2 come next Monday. Yikes.

Well, there you have it. Let’s hope we’re writing about more losses next week for our NFC South rivals.