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NFC South after Week 10: Saints start to separate from the pack

It was a good week for New Orleans.

New Orleans Saints v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Saints keep winning, and they were the only team in the division to do so. That means the Saints were able to gain a little bit of ground against their division opponents. Here’s how it all played out:

Carolina Panthers v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Coming into Week 10, the entire NFC South was back in action. The second place Carolina Panthers (5-3) travelled to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers (5-2-1) on Thursday Night Football. Sunday afternoon, the rest of the NFC South played at noon CST. The first place New Orleans Saints (7-1) traveled north themselves to face the Cincinnati Bengals (5-3). The third place Atlanta Falcons (4-4) were the third South team to face an AFC North opponent, facing the last place Cleveland Browns (2-6-1). The last place Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5) hosted the first place Washington Redskins (5-3). For those of you keeping track, that means the Bucs, Saints and Panthers all were facing 5-win teams in Week 10, with the Falcons facing a team four games under .500.

The Panthers got embarrassed on Thursday Night Football, to the tune of 52-21. The Saints were on the other end of a beatdown, stomping the Bengals 51-14. The Buccaneers game had far less offense, with the Bucs taking the “L” against the Redskins, 16-3. The Atlanta Falcons surprisingly lost to the Browns, 28-16. That means the Saints were the only NFC South team to win in Week 10, improving to 8-1. With the rest of the division losing, the order of teams didn’t change, but the distance between each and the Saints was extended one game. The Panthers are now 6-3, two games behind the Saints. The Falcons are 4-5, four games behind the Saints. And the Buccaneers are now 3-6, five games behind the Saints (but with a tie-breaker so far, after beating the Saints in Week 1).

New Orleans Saints v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images

Now into Week 11, the entire NFC South is still back in action.

The second place Carolina Panthers are on the road again, this time to face the Detroit Lions (3-6) and Matthew Stafford. The third place Atlanta Falcons host Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys (4-5), and the last place Buccaneers face the New York football Giants (1-7) in Jersey. Those three games are Sunday at noon CST. The first place New Orleans Saints host the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles (4-5).

That means that none of the NFC South is facing an opponent in Week 11 with a winning record. At least the Saints have the honor of taking on the Champs.