Coming into Sunday, the battle for the NFC South was a close 2 team race between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. How quickly things can change. After Sunday’s events in the division, the question has gone from: “Who will win the NFC South?” to “When will the Saints clinch the NFC South?” With the Saints owning the tiebreaker over the Falcons, New Orleans now has a 3 game lead on the rival Falcons with just 4 games remaining.
Matt Ryan had a game to forget for the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. He completed 20 of 46 passes for 267 yards. Only 1 of those 46 passes went for a touchdown, 2 of the 46 passes were completed to the wrong team. Ryan finished the day with a 52.7 passer rating in a 17-10 loss to the Houston Texans. He wasn’t helped much by the run game, which only accounted for 70 yards of the offense. The Falcons now find themselves in a heated race for one of the 2 wild card spots in the NFC.
The Carolina Panthers defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-19 in the battle for 3rd place in the division. Both teams are now 4-8 and have slim chances of getting a wild card spot if they were to win out. Killa Cam Newton looked like a veteran against the Tampa Bay defense, accounting for 204 yards passing and 54 yards rushing. I don’t care what ESPN draft analysis geeks say, this guy is the truth and will be a headache for opposing defenses for years to come. Who cares if he scored poorly on the Wonderlic test, the guy can play football.
As for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they have issues. When your quarterback is your leading rusher with 45 yards, you’re going to lose. Tampa Bay’s 2nd leading rusher was Mossis Madu with 25 yards on 8 carries. Let’s not waste any more time talking about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The New Orleans Saints defeated the Detroit Lions 31-17 on Sunday night to take control of the NFC South. The Saints are now 6-0 at home on the season. Drew Brees had another Drew Brees performance, completing 26 of 36 passes for 342 yards and 3 touchdowns. He now has 30 touchdown passes on the season and has completed a touchdown pass in 39 straight games. His 2 favorite targets on the night were Robert Meachem and Jimmy Graham. Meachem was once again the deep threat, accounting for a touchdown on 119 yards and 3 receptions. While Meachem stretched the field, Graham took care of the underneath routes and was once again Brees’ trusty 3rd down target.
Graham caught 8 passes for 89 yards and went over 1000 yards receiving on the season. For the 2nd straight week the Saints defense contained the run, only giving up 87 yards on 22 rushing attempts. Unfortunately, the defense looked equally bad against the pass. On several occasions there was busted coverage in the Saints secondary. Giving up 379 passing yards is generally not a good thing for a defense to be doing. A gray streak in the black cloud which is the Saints secondary was Tracy Porter picking off a Matt Stafford pass. This was Porter’s first interception since week 2 of 2010.
The New Orleans Saints will travel to Tennessee to face the Titans this Sunday. A 5th straight win for the Saints would give them a stronghold on the NFC South and keep alive any hopes they have of challenging the San Fransisco 49ers for the #2 spot in the NFC.
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