Matt Ryan has to stand tall against NFC South competition

The NFC South could be a battle between winning the division or missing the playoffs in 2014. Currently the Panthers have the early lead over Atlanta in the divisional rankings.

The NFC South is expected to be one of the toughest divisions in the NFL this season.  So far, it’s not panning out that way.  The New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have gone winless in the first two games.  The Carolina Panthers have won both games, while Atlanta split their first two games.  

All four teams have performed in different ways, and it displays there is more than one way to win or lose a game.  We are only entering the third week of the season, so it’s not quite time to panic, or show too much exuberance, but losing becomes a habit that’s hard to overcome.  

Nine of the 16 teams are (1-1) in the NFC so far.  If Philadelphia loses to Indianapolis on Monday night, that would leave only two NFC teams undefeated.  While the cluttered records bode well for Atlanta, it proves that divisional and conference games could be the difference between earning a playoff spot, or going home for the holidays.  

Here are the NFC South Rankings. 

1. Carolina Panthers (2-0)- The Panthers have already played two quarterbacks and they’ve comeback with positive results.  In week one, they beat the Buccaneers on the road with Derek Anderson starting at quarterback.  The Panthers were consistent with their offensive game plan when Cam Newton came back for Sunday’s game.  Both quarterbacks threw the ball 34 times in those two victories.  They’ve also combined for three touchdown passes and zero interceptions.  Carolina has given up 21 points this season. Next game vs. Pittsburgh.

2. Atlanta Falcons (1-1)-  The Falcons have split games between home and the road.  After an overtime win over New Orleans, Atlanta didn’t have enough scoring punch to battle Cincinnati.  Matt Ryan was dominant in week 1, and threw three interceptions in week 2.  The Falcons defense hasn’t been much to write home about either.  They’ve given up 58 points in the first two games.  Only the Saints have given up more.  Atlanta wasted a big opportunity, but they’ll have a chance to keep pace with Carolina.  Next game vs. Tampa Bay.

3. New Orleans Saints (0-2)- The Saints have lost both games on last second field goals.  They’ve given up 63 points in two games, and the defense has to turn around the performances soon. History is not on New Orleans side for making the playoffs.  However, they are the only team in the division not to play a home game yet.  Drew Brees might need to make one more play to secure their first victory. It’s not entirely true, but New Orleans’ season is on the line.  Next game vs. Minnesota.  

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the second best defense in the NFC South.  It has amounted to exactly two losses.  The Bucs have held opponents to 39 points in two games.  At some point soon, they’ll need to wake up their dormant offense.  Next game vs. Atlanta.  


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