NFC South Recap, Week 6

The rest of the NFC South isn't helping the Panthers feel better about their 0-5 start. While Carolina is the only winless team left in the NFC, every other team in its division has a wining record. Michael Stolp checks in on those other teams in his weekly look around the NFC South.

Atlanta Falcons (4-2)

What went right? With his two TD receptions in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Tony Gonzalez moved into fifth place on the all-time NFL receptions list. He is also now tied for 12th in career TDs. Returning from a shoulder injury, Michael Jenkins saw his first action of the year and had five receptions for 99 yards.

What went wrong? The defense allowed eight plays of 20 yards or more, including an 83-yard TD pass to Jeremy Maclin. Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder's unit was confused by misdirection and screens as the Eagles jumped out to a 21-0 lead.

What question needs to be answered? With only one victory against a team with a winning record (the New Orleans Saints), are the Falcons a team that beats the bad teams but loses to the better ones? If so, they should rebound with a win this week against the Cincinnati Bengals before heading into their bye.

New Orleans Saints (4-2)

What went right? The Saints righted the ship in Tampa Bay. Drew Brees threw three TD passes, including 41- and 42-yard strikes to Lance Moore and Robert Meachem. The real story, though, was rookie RB Chris Ivory. Filling in for Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush, Ivory gained 158 yards on the ground on only 15 attempts (10.5 ypc).

What went wrong? While Garrett Hartley made his first field goal since Week 2, he also missed a 33-yard attempt in the third quarter.

What question needs to be answered? Is the ship really righted? After splitting two weeks on the road against lesser opponents, the Saints welcome the 1-5 Cleveland Browns to New Orleans this week. This is a game they should easily win and use to build momentum before the Pittsburgh Steelers come to town on Halloween.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2)

What went right? Rookie safety Cody Grimm had his second career interception and the team didn't get shut out ... that's about it.

What went wrong? This was the game where we were going to find out if the Bucs' hot start was a sign that they were ready to compete for a playoff spot. It looks like they're not. The defense cannot stop the run and the offense has no ground game to speak of. Five different runners combined to gain only 42 yards rushing. To make matters worse, backup RB Kareem Huggins was lost for the season to an ACL injury and FB Earnest Graham didn't return after re-injuring his hamstring.

What question needs to be answered? Can the Bucs take the next two weeks against the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals to solve their running issues before another "show me something" game in Atlanta in three weeks?



What's your take on the 2010 NFC South? Talk it out inside the message boards.




Michael Stolp is a graduate of Wilkes University with a degree in Communications. He grew up in Piscataway, N.J., and recently relocated to Charlotte, NC. To follow his personal blog, click here.


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