Reasons to be Thankful in the NFC South

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends. A time to count your blessings and acknowledge the many things you are thankful for this year.

Fans of the NFC South have many things to be thankful for this year.

From star running backs to head coaches, there are many players and personnel that make our Sundays better throughout the NFL season.

Here’s the list of things that I’m thankful for in the NFC South…

 

 

 

 

 

Atlanta Falcons (3-8) 

Perhaps we should rename them The Phoenixes since they’ve risen from the ashes of a horrendous 1-7 start to being the team we recognized from Super Bowl contention. I credit this amazing turnaround to head coach Dan Quinn. Amidst cries for him to be fired, Quinn has just kept on doing his job and getting his team ready to play each week.

They ride a two-game winning streak into the division match-up on Thanksgiving evening against the New Orleans Saints. They defeated the Saints just two weeks ago, decisively at 26-9 followed by another great performance against Carolina winning 29-3. Clearly this team has not given up and, despite injuries to tight end Austin Hooper, wide receiver Julio Jones and quarterback Matt Ryan, they’ve weathered the storm and are now looking into better days ahead.

New Orleans Saints (9-2) 

I had to mull over a couple of options for the Saints player I was most thankful for… while there are many good choices, I am going with free safety Marcus Williams. His four interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, and one fumble recovery leads the defense. And frankly, with Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Brees under center, what better way to win that to take the ball away from your opponent and give it back to the QB?

 

Carolina Panthers (5-6) 

OK, this one is pretty easy and you should all be able to guess this one:  RB Christian McCaffrey.  It’s not easy to be a star RB when your team loses so many games. They are forced to throw the ball to try to come back and don’t have the luxury of clock time to just gut it out on the ground. BUT McCaffrey makes that an option. He leads the league in touchdowns, rushing, and total yards from scrimmage.

In only his third NFL season, McCaffrey just keeps slicing through defenders and can still fake out a tackler in the open field. He is under contract through the 2020 season, so while they have to worry about the QB position in the off-season, at least this MVP candidate is locked down for one more year. **The fact that he is on two of my fantasy teams played no part in this decision. Mostly.**

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) 

I struggled with this one, not gonna lie. But after watching all of their games this year and looking at the stats, I’ve gotta go with two players: the wide receiver duo of Chris Godwin and Mike Evans.  Goodwin is leading the team with 1,071 yards and 9 touchdowns. He’s just consistently been there as a target for QB Jameis Winston and that can’t be overlooked.

Mike Evans also has over 1,000 yards this season and 7 touchdowns. This duo has been dangerous and a force that defensive coordinators have had to plan for each week. If you take out one, Winston just finds the other. The way they work together week after week, through this rough season, makes me thankful that they are working so well together. It’s just a joy to watch.

Are you thankful for anyone else in this division? Leave a comment or hit me up on social media!

Talk NFC South with Kate on Twitter / @ClvlndK8 

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