While New Orleans Saints fans are still sky high after their Week 1 38-3 annihilation of the Green Bay Packers, there are a couple of other teams in the division whose fanbases are feeling good about themselves as well. Here is a look around the NFC South after Week 1.
Tampa Bay 31 | Dallas 29
The reigning Super Bowl champs started the 2021 season the same way they ended the 2020 campaign by winning a game at home. While the stakes were not nearly as high, the Bucs were out to prove that last season was not merely lightning in a bottle. The ageless wonder himself Tom Brady looked to be in midseason form as he threw for 379 yards and 4 touchdowns and let his team down the field to another game winning drive.
Everything wasn’t all roses for the champs as the defense was on their heels most of the evening as Dallas was more than formidable on offense. Dak Prescott, who hadn’t played since severely injuring his ankle in Week 5 last season, had his way with the Buccaneers secondary. He completed 42 passes for 403 yards and 3 touchdowns and nearly pulled off the upset before Brady’s heroics. Some of that success may have had to due to Bucs cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting exiting the game in the 1st quarter after suffering an arm injury. Coach Bruce Arians says he will miss this upcoming game against the Falcons and multiple weeks after that. Speaking of the Falcons...
Philadelphia 32 | Atlanta 6
If Sunday is any indication of the Falcons season, then this will be a long, miserable season for the Dirty Birds. First year head coach Arthur Smith could not get any of his units to play well in the lost. The offense was straight inept all game as they only managed 260 total yards for the game, went 3 of 14 on 3rd downs, and didn’t score in the second half. Quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked 3 times and pressured several others and only managed 136 passing yards. The defense didn’t fair much better.
The Eagles were able to consistently run the ball all day to the tune of 173 yards on 5.6 yards an attempt. When they made it to the Red Zone, the Falcons provided little resistance as the Eagles were 3 for 3 on touchdowns on that part of the field. Whatever the Eagles wanted to do, they did and amassed 434 yards of offense along the way. Not a good sign of things to come for the Falcons. Things were a little brighter for the Saints next opponent.
Carolina 19 | New York Jets 14
In what was billed as the “Sam Darnold Bowl,” and the quarterback got exactly what he wanted: a win against his former team. Darnold had a solid game as he threw for 279 yards and a score with no interceptions. He also ran for a score as well. Do it everything running back Christian McCaffrey seemed to be back to his usual self as he ran for 98 yards and caught 9 passes for 89. Darnold’s lone touchdown came on a 57 yard strike to Robby Anderson, coincidentally is also a former Jet.
The Panthers defense was solid as well as they harassed Jets’ rookie quarterback Zach Wilson by sacking him 6 times and forcing an interception by him. 6 different Panthers each had a sack as they looked to welcome the rookie to the NFL the right way. The Panthers will look to harass the Saints in the same way this weekend as it will be a division battle of the unbeatens.
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