Buccaneers have the division crown in their sights
The fact the Atlanta Falcons are second in NFC South currently lets you know all you need to know about the division currently. The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers are reeling, while the Buccaneers are looking to be the first division winner in 5 years not named the Saints. The Saints recent struggles with offensive ineptitude and injuries have been well documented on this site as they are now losers of 4 straight. Here is how the rest of the division fared this past weekend.
Falcons 21 Jaguars 14
After getting blanked at home by the Patriots the week before, the Falcons got what every team needs to bounce back, a chance to play the Jaguars. They took advantage and broke their 2-game losing streak and moved up in the crowded race for the final playoff spot in the NFC. Matt Ryan again had a subpar game as he passed for less than 200 yards for the third straight game. The offense was bolstered by receiver/running back Cordarrelle Patterson who rushed for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns. The defense forced two turnovers that lead to 14 points for the Falcons and held off the Jaguars comeback bid. The Falcons will look to build upon their win, but it won’t be easy as they host defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Tampa Bay 38 Indianapolis 31
As if we haven’t seen this scenario play out countless times before, Tom Brady had the ball in hand late in the game with a chance to win it. You can probably guess how this ends and you would be correct as Brady rallied his team twice down double digits in this game to secure the Bucs 8th victory of the season. Brady tossed a touchdown in this one as he threw for 226 yards, but running back Leonard Fournette was the star in this one. The former LSU standout rushed for 100 yards and 3 scores including the go ahead score with 20 seconds left in the game. The opportunistic defense for the Bucs who were so instrumental in their Super Bowl run last season forced five Colts turnovers including the game sealing interception as time inspired. The Bucs seem to be getting healthier on both sides and are poised to make another Lombardi trophy run. They will travel to Atlanta this Sunday to take on the Falcons.
Dolphins 33 Panthers 10
There is a reason the sequels usually aren’t as good as the originals. Cam Newton’s return to Carolina has not yet equaled some of the glory years he had in Carolina before. Sunday’s performance made it seem like those years never existed. Newton finished a tragic 5/21 for 92 yards and 2 interceptions. The offense was stuck in neutral most of the game as they were held to under 200 yards. Adding insult to injury (or maybe injury to insult), Christian McCaffrey again injured his ankle in this one and did not return. The team announced they have put McCaffrey on IR and his season is now over. The same can probably be said for the Panthers as a whole. They are losers of 7 of their last 9 and have been anemic on both sides of the ball recently. They will get a week to regroup as their bye week is upcoming before they host their division rival Atlanta Falcons the week after.
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