Another chance and a sad end: Tampa Bay moves on

Dayna O’Gorman
Senior NFL Reporter
NFC West/AFC West

By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG

It was dubbed the “Old Man Battle”. Two quarterbacks, both over 40, both first-ballot Hall of Famers. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs the New Orleans Saints game was about more than just aging QBs, it was about two teams with something to prove. A chip on their shoulders. Two teams that had been written off and came back swinging.

I’m not going to go over these men’s careers. As I said, Buccaneers QB Tom Brady and Saints QB Drew Brees are first-ballot Hall of Famers, we all know the impact they have made on the league. However this was more about the impact they could make in this particular game, and Brady came out on top.

During the regular season, it was New Orleans that had the upper hand in this matchup, winning 34-23 and 38-3. However, that was prior to Brees breaking 11 ribs and puncturing his lung. While his return to the field was miraculous and insanely fast, Sunday’s game showed that he wasn’t at full strength. He seemed to struggle during the game, definitely not the Brees we have gotten used to seeing.

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Saints roll past the Bears

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303

The Chicago Bears limped into the playoff with an 8-8 record, mostly due to back to back losses by the Arizona Cardinals. The Bears drew quarterback Drew Brees and the NFC South division champion New Orleans Saints.

Let’s face it, not many people had the Bears coming out on top in this week’s wildcard round. However, the Bears stayed around to make this a very winnable game for them going into the 3rd quarter, where they only trailed the Saints by 4 points.

The Bears failed to take advantage after receiving the ball in the second half. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky and the Bears offense could only muster up 27 total yards during their first drive of the second half, ultimately punting the ball back to the Saints.

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The Twelve Days of Christmas – NFC South Style (Part 2)

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North / NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

Just so you know, I am NOT a fan of two-part episodes of tv shows. Or movies with a huge cliff-hanger that you have to wait years to see. (Thanks “Empire Strikes Back” for traumatizing my teen years!)

At the same time, who really likes the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas?” It’s soooooo long…. and repetative… and boring…

So this one time, I made an exception and broke my article into two parts.

Welcome to Part Two!

On the 6th Day of Christmas the NFC South gave to me…  Six Mike Evans Receptions

Have we seen this story before? The Atlanta Falcons get off to a 17-0 lead at halftime only to let a Tom Brady team (this time the Buccaneers) back into the game to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory…. That was the story this week. And frankly, I blame the lack of targets to wide receiver Mike Evans. With only seven targets and six receptions, quarterback Matt Ryan just couldn’t get the ball to Evans enough in the home stretch to get the win.

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The Twelve Days of Christmas – NFC South Style!

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North / NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

It’s that time of year… the NFL season is winding down and we writers are trying to find new and interesting ways to recap the past week and look forward to the week ahead. Plus, the holidays are right around the corner.

And so, I present to you: The 12 Days of Christmas – NFC South Style!

On the 12th Day of Christmas, the NFC South gave to me…  TOM BRADY winning 8 games

Who else would we start with but “TB12” himself! There are more wins on the horizon for the Buccaneers but last’s weeks beat-down of the Minnesota Viking was just classic Brady. 15/23 for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns. They are sitting at 8-5 with the Detroit Lions and two chances to beat the Atlanta Falcons. Should finish the season 10-6!

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NFC South: Week 7 Preview

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North / NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

The NFC South saw some teams struggling to get going this season but one of them has started to stand out and separate itself from the pack: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

While the New Orleans Saints (after a bye week) and the Carolina Panthers are hot on their heels, the Buccaneers just LOOK better than everyone else at this point.

And don’t even get me started on the Atlanta Falcons. Firing head coach Dan Quinn and promoting defensive coordinator Raheem Morris from to the interim head coach position may have been a no-brainer after an 0-5 start, but PLEASE don’t let their victory over the Vikings this past weekend make you think much has changed.

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Aaron Rodgers is Back and the NFL Needs To Take Notice

Lucy Rendler-Kaplan
Green Bay Packers Reporter

By Lucy Rendler-Kaplan //@LucyRK78

The minute we saw the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints on the schedule, we knew we were in for a true primetime game. The first real test for the Packers brought the meeting of two legendary quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees.

Both headed for the Hall of Fame, they have faced equal scrutiny over the past few seasons with fans wondering “where has THE Rodgers been?” and “is it time for Brees to hang up the cleats?” Adding to the nervous excitement of the game was the fact that both teams would be without their stars, as wide receivers Michael Thomas and Davante Adams were sidelined.

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NFC South Week 3 Preview

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North / NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

The Atlanta Falcons blew a 19 point lead in their loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The New Orleans Saints blew a 17 point lead in their loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. And the Carolina Panthers getting blown out by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rounds out a pretty weak Week 2 as the NFC South goes 1-3.

The Panthers and Falcons head into Week 3 at 0-2. The Saints and Buccaneers are both 1-1. I know it’s early in the season, but hopefully, this week will mark some improvement for all of these teams.

Let’s take a look at their match-ups!

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NFC South Week 1: One Team Stands on Top

Senior Sports Editor AFC North / NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

The NFC South entered Week 1 of the 2020 season with so many questions and story-lines that we couldn’t wait to see how they played out!

Quarterback Tom Brady has a new uniform after joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Teddy Bridgewater is a starter for the Carolina Panthers. Drew Brees is back for the New Orleans Saints and better than ever? And the Atlanta Falcons are, well, The Falcons…

Since the Bucs faced the Saints we knew at least one team in this division would have to come out of the weekend with a loss…. but THREE teams? I didn’t see that one coming!

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Is the NFC South ready for the 2020 season?

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North / NFC South

By  Kate  Arhar  //  @ClvlndK8  

Summer is here and we’d usually be talking about OTA’s and Mini-camps right now. Instead, we are trying to figure out if the NFL will even have a season this year and guessing as to what it might look like.

While fans and the media are all about speculating on what the future will bring, the teams in the NFC South have been busy trying to conduct business as usual. Or at least as well as they can during this pandemic.

Let’s take a look at how the draft and free agency has affected the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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A flashy draft, or a functional draft? Which proves more useful?

John Errico HeartNSkol Podcast Blitzed Football Blog

By John Errico // @MikeZimmersEars

(Editors note: A few times a year we have guest contributors add to our website. Please enjoy.) 

There have been many debates over the years. Waffles or pancakes? Chocolate or peanut butter? Tastes great or less filling? Allow me to add one more related to the NFL draft: Best available or fill needs?

I decided to dig into which strategy works better by researching ten years of drafts from 2009 through 2019. I chose the best team in each NFL division based on the overall record from that same period. I first looked at statistics for each season for these eight teams.

Items such as points scored and allowed, offensive and defensive rankings in each season, sacks allowed and recorded, and depth issues formed the baseline for what I saw as team needs for each draft. Any player chosen that would help improve the team in any of these areas was seen as a need pick, not a best available. Here are the teams and my analysis:

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