NFC South: what surprises will they bring for Week 8?

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

Week 7 was a bit quiet for the NFL’s NFC South Division. With Carolina and Tampa Bay enjoying the rest that comes with a Bye week, that left only the New Orleans and Atlanta seeing action.

In what seems to be a trend so far this season, the Saints won easily while the Falcons lost heavily.

With all four teams back in action for Week 8, and their quarterbacks being the most talked about subject on the mind of fans, let’s take a look at the upcoming matchups and see if there might be any surprises in store for the competition…

New Orleans Saints 36 – Chicago Bears 25

I don’t know what happened to the Bears defense this week, but Teddy Bridgewater and company had no problems putting points on the board.  The Saints (6-1) will be hosting the Arizona Cardinals (3-3) this Sunday at 1:00 pm EST.

The question for fans – and fantasy football owners – is: “Who will be the Saints QB?”  Drew Brees has missed a few weeks due to a thumb injury but he says he’s ready to hit the field again. Should the Saints let him rest and heal for one more week? They have a Bye week 9 so he’d actually get two more weeks before his return. Can Bridgewater get it done against rookie QB Kyler Murray and the Cardinals lack-luster defense? I guess we’ll have to wait and be surprised on Sunday…

Atlanta Falcons 10 – 37 Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams visited Atlanta last week and just took the Falcons apart – literally. Running back Devonta Freeman got ejected for fighting with Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. RB Ito Smith left the game with a concussion and has already been ruled out for this week’s game. QB Matt Ryan left with an ankle injury and has been seen wearing a boot. He didn’t practice yesterday but has not been officially ruled out yet. Oh, and then they traded wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to the Patriots. (Because really, those Pats needed more weapons).

The only surprise left is just how badly will the Seattle Seahawks (6-1) beat up on the Falcons (1-6) this Sunday at 1 pm EST. On the bright side, it’s a home game so at least the Falcons don’t have to get on a plane or anything. Luckily for them, they have a Bye week 9. The real surprise may just be Ryan missing a game.

 

Carolina Panthers – Bye

QB Kyle Allen is undefeated. That’s a surprise. RB Christian McCaffrey has been nearly perfect. That’s not a surprise. But this whole “should they trade Cam Newton” question is a huge surprise to me. I understand that Allen has done a great job in his replacement gig, but it seems a bit soon to me for them to be talking about moving on from Newton and trading him before the deadline next Tuesday, October 29th.

Then again, he has had his share of “unfortunate incidents” and perhaps he doesn’t really want to play football anymore. Who knows with this dude. But as the team heads to San Francisco with a matchup against the 49ers (6-0), it will be interesting to see how the Panthers (4-2) look on the road against a very strong opponent. Maybe they’ll surprise everyone and hand the 49ers their first loss of the season. It could happen…

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Bye

Only four short years ago, we saw the meeting of the #1’s when QB Marcus Mariota faced off against Jameis Winston. These guys were the top two lock-down can’t-lose prospects in the 2015 draft. Well, Mariota has been benched and Winston has been “meh” so far this season. Will the Bucs move away from him after this season? Does head coach Bruce Arians believe in him or is he ready for something new?

Here’s my surprising prediction for this week: The Buccaneers (2-4) travel to Tennessee to face the Mariota-less Titans (3-4) at 1 pm EST on Sunday. Since I’m warning you now, you shouldn’t be surprised if QB Ryan Griffin sees some playing time. The 6’5″ undrafted free agent from 2013 was picked up by the Saints for a couple of years. Then he moved over to Tampa Bay in 2015. As far as I can tell, he hasn’t taken a single snap during an actual game in his entire career. I think Sunday it just might be his time.

What surprises do YOU think the NFC South is going to give us this week?

 

Talk NFL Football with Kate on Twitter // @ClvlndK8

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