NFC South division matchups turn into blowouts

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

Week 11 saw two division matchups for the NFC South, and both games ended up being blowouts.

While that in itself may not sound surprising, the resurgence of the Atlanta Falcons and their decisive win over the Carolina Panthers most definitely was a surprise – at least to me! With their third win of the season, the Falcons are now 3-7, but at least they are not alone at the bottom of the division. After losing to the New Orleans Saints, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also 3-7.

The Saints extend their lead in the division with a record of 8-2 and with the loss, the Panthers drop to 5-5 and their playoff hopes have pretty much been decimated.

It seems the Defenses came to play this week with both winners garnering four interceptions in their respective games!

 

 

 

 

 

Atlanta Falcons 29 at Carolina Panthers 3

Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen is, indeed, human. Going 31 of 50 for 325 yards and no TD’s doesn’t sound like a terrible day, especially when you have premier running back Christian McCaffrey on the team. BUT, throwing four interceptions will absolutely put a strain on any chance you have of getting your offense going. McCaffrey had 14 carries for just 70 yards in the effort.

Most of the credit for that goes to the Falcons defense. Perhaps head coach Dan Quinn is as worried about his job as the fans are and he got his defense – finally – into shape! Their problem all season has not been the offense as they’ve averaged 22 points per game. In my opinion, anything over 21 ppg is enough to win with a solid defense. It’s good to see this defense stepping up instead of rolling over to this division foe.

But I don’t want to leave wide receiver Calvin Ridley out of the honors section… even if he WAS on my bench in fantasy football… Ridley went 8/8 and 143 yards with a touchdown. WR Julio Jones also had a pretty good day, going 6/8 and getting 91 yards, with one monster play worth 48! Add a rushing TD from RB Qadree Ollison, and that’s only 21 points, right? So we’ll add kicker, and new fan favorite, Younghoe Koo who went 3/4 on field goals to my list of game ball winners.

And perhaps the “fall to earth” of Kyle Allen will stop – or at least slow down – the talk of making a permanent change from veteran QB Cam Newton. Then again, it probably won’t…

New Orleans Saints 34 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17

That final score makes it sound close, but it really wasn’t. Getting blanked in the 1st and 4th quarters, the Bucs just couldn’t keep pace with Saints offense that put up a touchdown in every quarter and a couple of early field goals so that they were always just out of reach. QB Jameis Winston continued to look mystified and sloppy, going 30/51 for 313 yards with two touchdowns and four – FOUR – interceptions. (Where have I heard that before? Oh, right, the Falcons grabbed 4 INT’s also!)

Saints QB Drew Brees just did what Brees does…. score, score, score. A Three TD Day on 228 yards as he spread the ball around to WR’s Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr., and tight end Jared Cook. The running game didn’t do much – RB Alvin Kamara had 75 yards and Latavius Murray had just 27 – but if the Bucs defense is going to give you air yardage, why not take it? Kicker Will Lutz was perfect on the day, hitting both field goal attempts. In my opinion, the Saints are very quietly going about their business and will make a strong contender for the NFC rep to the Super Bowl.

 

 

Talk NFL Football with Kate on Twitter // @ClvlndK8

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