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State of the NFC South, Week 13 - Tampa, we have a problem

The Saints widened their divison lead against a quarterbackless Broncos team.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Week 12 was a bite of games with huge implications, but mixed with some very 2020-like scenarios. For example, the football gods were on the New Orleans Saints’ side for once. I mean, not only did New Orleans have a Top-3 overall defense heading into Week 12—but, they played a 4-6 Denver Broncos team without a quarterback. It was almost like a zombie, apocalyptic movie and the Broncos locked the third-string WR Kendall Hinton out to take one for the team at QB.

So, now that the universe and UFOs hiding metal objects in the desert know the Saints won, let’s cover the other NFC South squads in a brief recap of Week 12. Well, the Buccaneers are now 1-3 in their last 4 games, as Patrick Mahomes got Tom Brady to shake his hand after the game. The Falcons?! Wow. Did we really see Atlanta destroy a playoff team at this point of the year? That is such an Atlanta move. As for Carolina, we were witnessed the love for Teddy Bridgewater’s return to Minnesota. Nonethless, Carolina lost. Again.

So with Week 12 in the books, let’s dissect the outlook for the NFC South competitors!

New Orleans Saints

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Anybody want to guess who has the No. 1 defense in the NFL? Bingo. Cameron Jordan, who has 4 sacks in the last two games, and the boys, showcase the league’s top defense. With Jordan looking like his old-self, plus Kwon Alexander formulating a 1-2 punch at linebacker with Demario Davis, I believe the Saints have a better defense than Pittsburgh right now—and it’s not all the padded stats from the Denver game.

Looking ahead—the Saints face off against the red hot Falcons team with some revenge on their mind. Taysom Hill will look to go 3-0 as a starter. If Hill can play like he did in his first game, Saints will for sure pose offers for their dual-threat QB in the off-season. Nonetheless, the Saints are looking to go 10-2 and keep their No. 1 seed locked up with a divisional win in Week 13. Time for Jordan to hunt!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers aren’t holding out to be this “dream team” as projected out to be. Tompa Bay is sitting second place in the division after their loss to Kansas City in Week 12. Since acquiring Antonio Brown, they’re 1-3 in the last four games. Ouch.

Looking ahead—the Buccaneers play the Falcons twice down the stretch, a Vikings team in Week 13 that’s 3-1 in their last four games, so it won’t be a walk in the park. We could very well see the Buccaneers go 9-7 and miss the playoffs. Or we could see them pull off a 11-5 record and compete for the NFC title.

It’s tough to predict which Buccaneers team will show up. They will have to rely on their defense to be elite & Brady to not turn the ball over “once” in Arians “risk it for the biscuit” attack. All in all, this is the Saints division and conference at the moment. Good luck to Brady in attempting to win a few road games, plus beating a Saints team that demolished Tampa.

Carolina Panthers

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

One of the best stories of the weekend had to be the scene of Teddy Bridgewater getting reunited on the same field with Mike Zimmer. It was all smiles for the fan favorite prior to the game, then things didn’t end with Bridgewater walking hand by hand with Zimmer. Teddy posted a 74.4 passer rating on the day & the Panthers kicked botched a game-winning field goal attempt.

The Panthers, who are slotted to pick at No. 7 right now in the upcoming draft at the moment, don’t look as explosive earlier in the year, they don’t have a prescense on defense, and frankily—their season is all but over.

Carolina is now 4-8, which has them in last place after Atlanta went from 0 to 100 in Week 12. Panthers play the Broncos with a QB in Week 13, the Packers in Week 14, a rising Washington squad in Week 14, & the Saints in Week 17. It’s safe to say. The Panthers might even notch a Top-5 pick when it’s all done.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

I have to admit. The Falcons look SHARP when the season is all, but over. Last year we saw the 49ers thump the Saints and 49ers in the second-half of last season. This year we saw another massacre against a playoff hopeful, in the Las Vegas Raiders. Falcons are starting to play team defense and protect Matt Ryan on offense. When the Falcons aren’t giving up 8 sacks to the Saints defense, they can utilize Ridley and Julio, who’re arguably the Top WR combo.

On defense, they harassed Matt Ryan all night. We saw 4 turnovers result from Derek Carr via Falcons motivated pass rush. Like Derek Carr said, their loss to Atlanta “was a bunch of trash”. Expect the Falcons to ride this steam into a better round 2 match-up against a QB they’re more prepared to face.

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