Backup QBs and head coach concerns tell the tale of the NFC South

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

Week 5 saw a whole lotta offense in the NFC South! Apparently, it’s defense that is most lacking in this division.

The New Orleans Saints (4-1) remain atop the division after defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3). The Carolina Panthers (3-2), with backup quarterback Kyle Allen under center again, got a victory keeping them in second place. The bottom spot is for the Atlanta Falcons (1-4), whose awful record may be the biggest surprise in the entire NFL.

Falcon quarterback Matt Ryan is the only starting QB left from pre-season due to injuries to Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Nick Foles, so you’d think they would have some kind of edge. Yeah, not so much. Head Coach Dan Quinn’s job may be in jeopardy if they don’t find a way to turn things around quickly.


New Orleans Saints 31  Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24

The Saints hold the #2 position on the league Power Rankings, and they look good. Very good. The Buccaneers put up a great fight but just didn’t have the offensive weapons to keep up with the Brees-less Saints. Backup Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater looks better each week, hitting 26/34 for 314 yards with four touchdowns and only one interception. Bucs QB Jameis Winston wasn’t as productive, hitting 15/27 for 204 yards and two TDs, so the Saints had the edge at this position. The running back battle between Saints pro-bowler Alvin Kamara and Bucs high spot Peyton Barber went to the Bucs. Kamara looked good with 16 carries for 62 yards but Barber got into the end zone.

New Orleans travels to Jacksonville to play the 2-3 Jaguars on Sunday at 1:00pm EST.

Tampa Bay will “host” Carolina Sunday morning at 9:30am EST… which means they’re playing in London, England.


Carolina Panthers 34 – Jacksonville Jaguars 27

Cam Newton is still out. Cam who? Backup Kyle Allen is doing a great job in his absence, keeping the Panthers in the division hunt. Then again, when RB Christian McCaffrey runs for 176 yards and two TDs, perhaps I could be behind center and still win on this team! Allen went 17/30 for 181 and one TD, zero INTs. Not crazy great numbers, but again, with this running game, he just needs to not make any mistakes. So far, so good.

Carolina will be in London, England, this Sunday at 9:30am EST, facing division opponent Tampa Bay.


Houston Texans 53 – Atlanta Falcons 32 

At half-time, it was 17-16 Atlanta and we had a game. However, 17 unanswered points later, the 3rd quarter ended with Houston up 33-17… and the rout was on. Matt Ryan’s 330 yards, three TDs and 1 INT were not even close to enough to compete with Texan QB Deshaun Watson’s 426 yards and five TD’s. I don’t know what happened the to Falcon defense, but it was invisible in the second half. Which just begs the questions about head coach Dan Quinn and his future with the Falcons.

When you bring in a Defensive Genius to run your team, you hardly expect to give up over 20 points a game. This defense ranks somewhere around 28th in the league, and that is unacceptable for a team with playoff and Super Bowl aspirations. The next three weeks may end up deciding Quinn’s fate… First up is the Cardinals, then the Rams followed by the Seahawks before their Bye Week. Depending on how they come out of those games, the Bye week could see a coaching opening.

Atlanta travels to Arizona to face the Cardinals (1-3-1) on Sunday at 4:05pm EST. This may be just the opponent they need to get back into the win column.




Talk NFC South with Kate on Twitter // @ClvlndK8

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