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Look around NFC South: Bucs one step closer to division crown

Saints, Falcons desperately fighting to stay in playoff hunt

Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

The return of Alvin Kamara came with a return to winning for the New Orleans Saints as they ended a 5-game slide and somehow still remain in the thick of things for a playoff spot. With their 30-9 win over the New York Jets they sit at 6-7 with 4 games remaining including a major game this Sunday night at Tampa. We've dissected the win over the Jets on this site so check our other articles for that. Here is a look how the rest of the division fared this past Sunday.

Falcons 29 Panthers 21

The Panthers should have asked for this game to have been played in Atlanta. The Falcons were more than happy for this to be a road game. In a strange twist, the Falcons have been great on the road improving to 5-2 away from the friendly confines of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Things haven’t been as friendly for the Panthers at home as this loss drops them to 2-5 in Charlotte and leaves but a slight flicker for any playoff hopes this season. The spark seems to have also gone out on Cam Newton as he once again had a terrible game that caused him to be benched again. He was 15 of 23 for just 173 yards and an interception. He also lost a fumble and then was subsequently benched late in the 3rd quarter. The Falcons themselves were not world beaters on offense as Matt Ryan for the fourth time in the last five games threw for under 200 yards, but they avoided the costly turnover, unlike Carolina who had 3 on the day. The win moves the Falcons to a crowded bunch of teams at 6-7 in the NFC who are fighting for a playoff spot. The road will not be easy for the Falcons as they next travel to San Francisco to take on the 49ers this Sunday. The Panthers meanwhile will travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills.

Tampa Bay 33 Buffalo 27

New team. Same result. It doesn’t seem to matter what uniform Tom Brady is in, as long as the opposing one is a Bills uniform then victory is almost guaranteed. Brady has now improved to a staggering 33-3 against the Bills in his illustrious career and this one was done in style. Not only did he toss his 700th career touchdown in this game, but he also broke the all-time completion record held by Drew Brees. It’s also fitting the Buccaneers are a win on Sunday away from clinching their first division title in 14 years with a win over Brees’ former team the New Orleans Saints who have won the division the last 4 seasons. Brady was near flawless in this one throwing for 363 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also ran one in, but he wasn’t alone carrying the workload. Leonard Fournette is seemingly getting into ‘Playoff Lenny’ mode as he rushed for 113 yards and touchdown. It was a tale of 2 halfs as the Buccaneers steamrolled to a 21-point lead at halftime only to see the Bills storm back in the second half to get this one into overtime. The Bills then floundered on their chance with the ball, and you can probably guess the rest. The win moves the Bucs to 10-3 on the season and in a tie with Arizona for the best record in the NFC. The Bucs can wrap up the division Sunday night with a win at home against the New Orleans Saints.

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