After three weeks, we have a little better sense of how the NFC South is shaping up this year.
In an unexpected twist, it’s the Carolina Panthers who are the toast of town right now after moving to 3-0 on the season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost in what might be a preview of the NFC Championship game in January, and the New Orleans Saints, ugh, got back on track with a win over the struggling New England Patriots.
You already know your Atlanta Falcons won, so let’s survey the rest.
The Carolina Panthers are playing pretty darn good football. The defense has been one of the league’s best, as the team’s stealthy roster building on that side of the ball is starting to provide dividends. Their 24-9 Thursday win over the Houston Texans showed, too, that trading for Sam Darnold is paying off pretty big in the early goings of 2021.
Though, the Panthers lost Christian McCaffrey exited with a hamstring injury that may sideline him for just a bit, and the team looks to have lost 2021 first-round corner Jaycee Horn for a good while with a broken foot. Those are two tough losses, so we’ll see how Carolina responds when they play in Dallas against the Cowboys this coming Sunday.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs just didn’t do what they needed to keep pace with the Los Angeles Rams, maybe the best team in football right now, on the road in LA. It’s early, but don’t be shocked if this game happens again with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. These teams are just too good top-to-bottom, and the Rams had home field advantage this time out.
It was funny, though, to see Tom Brady be sad after his team lost 34-24 to a team with a head coach who is substantially younger than he is, so that’s worth celebrating.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints shook off their loss to Carolina last week and crushed the New England Patriots 28-13 in the “It Doesn’t Matter Who Wins, At Least One Of Them Loses” Bowl. We were a digit away from being relentlessly trolled for the outcome of this, so count your blessings.
QB Jameis Winston looked better than he did last week and is proving he can run Sean Payton’s offense with enough competency to hold down the starting gig. We’ll see how this team progresses, but New Orleans will still be a problem in the post-Drew Brees era. Gross.
Alright, there you have it. May all of these teams lose miserably next week.