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NFC South report: Atlanta’s in the mix in Week 4

The Falcons are in second place after four weeks.

Cleveland Browns v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Falcons did more than just win Sunday against the Browns. They also propelled themselves to the top of the NFC South, with a chance to have sole possession of first place if they can knock off the Buccaneers in Week 5.

Here’s a closer look at the state of the division after Week 4.

NFC South Standings

Buccaneers: 2-2

Falcons: 2-2

Panthers: 1-3

Saints: 1-3

The Buccaneers have looked pretty vincible thus far, and the Chiefs stomped them into submission on Sunday Night Football. I’m not suggesting Atlanta’s going to win—believe it when you see it—but the defense is having to carry the day for Tampa Bay with the offense a bit banged up and definitely shaky. The Buccaneers are still the favorites in the division, but they’re nowhere near a juggernaut, and their early play has reflected that.

Atlanta finds themselves in second place after playing consistently solid football all season, and they’re a couple of plays away from having an even better record. There are mistakes to iron out, a defense to continue to improve, and passing game consistency to find, but they look like a pretty good team. If they beat Tampa Bay next weekend, this season gets very interesting very quickly, but they already look much better than the next two teams on this list.

The Panthers stink, and we’re just waiting for them to part ways with Matt Rhule. After jumping out to a lead over the Cardinals, they were slowly rolled into submission, as the Carolina offense continues to look like a dud and the defense looks less effective than you’d think it would. The Panthers need a coaching change in the worst way, and then there are enough interesting pieces here to think about what they might be in 2023.

The Saints also stink, and with each passing week it’s more depressing that the Falcons managed to blow that lead and lose to them. New Orleans had to start Andy Dalton this week, but their problems run deeper than injuries and quarterback, as they’re simply not playing good football right now. With only one game separating everyone in the division they’re far from dead in the water, but they really can’t keep playing like this and hang around for long.

So there you have it, the Falcons are definitely in the divisional mix after four weeks. Where do you think they’ll end up four weeks from now?