NFC South Recap, Week 10

There is quite a race going on in the NFC South, not that the Carolina Panthers have any stake in it. Every other team in the division is in the postseason hunt, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who used a win over the Panthers to get back on track.

Atlanta Falcons (7-2)

What went right? Roddy White pushed off, got away with it and scored the game-winning touchdown as the Falcons came back to win a big-time game against a big-time team -- they're for real. Matt Ryan completed 32 of 50 pass attempts, amassing 316 yards and three touchdowns.

What went wrong? Like their division mates, the Buccaneers, the Falcons always seem to make things interesting. Ravens QB Joe Flacco threw two fourth quarter touchdowns, the second with just over a minute left to give the Ravens the shortly-held lead.

What question needs to be answered? Now that they've announced themselves as an elite team, will the Falcons suffer a letdown? They travel to St. Louis this week to face a feisty Rams team before welcoming the Packers to Atlanta in two weeks. Green Bay figures to contend with Atlanta for the top seed in the NFC, but the Falcons can't lose focus or Sam Bradford will take advantage.

New Orleans Saints (6-3)

What went right? The schedule makers were kind to the defending champs. Every team has to deal with injuries, but some teams are unfortunate enough to get stuck with a bye as early as Week 4. The Saints, a team gaining momentum, now gets refreshed and figures to have key players healthy for the second half of the season.

What went wrong? The Falcons and Buccaneers both won.

What question needs to be answered? The bye week was a good thing, right? This team has been inconsistent all year and had finally put together back-to-back wins for only the second time. Will the time off kill that momentum?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)

What went right? Finally, Bucs fans got to keep their heart rates at a reasonable level. Tampa Bay's young offense rolled up 421 yards and took advantage of the injury-riddled and talent-lacking Panthers on their way to a 31-16 win.

What went wrong? The defense still managed to surrender 100 yards rushing to reserve RB Mike Goodson. Tampa's run defense has been a problem all year (third worst in the league) and playoff-caliber teams will surely exploit it.

What question needs to be answered? Will they fix the run defense? They'd better hurry, because they have to travel to San Francisco to play the 49ers, winners of two straight. Frank Gore will not be shy about running straight through the gaping holes this defense provides each week.


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