NFC South Recap, Week 11

The Carolina Panthers would not be competitive in the middling NFC West. In the NFC South, where the other teams are a combined 22-8, forget about it. Here is a look at how the division's front-runners fared as the Panthers continued their losing ways.

Atlanta Falcons (8-2)

What went right? The Falcons got a gift interception late in the game to seal yet another "a win is a win" type of victory. With the St. Louis Rams inside Atlanta's 5-yard line trying to make it a one-possession game, Sam Bradford threw a shovel pass into the waiting arms of safety William Moore. Michael Turner iced the victory shortly thereafter with a 39-yard touchdown run.

What went wrong? This is getting repetitive, and may not bode well for December and January football in Atlanta, but the inability to play well in all facets of the game for 60 minutes is the elephant in the Falcons' locker room. Still, there is plenty positive to be said for a team that manages to get a victory however it can.

What question needs to be answered? Can the offense finish drives with touchdowns? Field goals are nice -- Matt Bryant kicked four of them on Sunday -- but three of them came when drives stalled at the 3, 6 and 11-yard lines. Touchdowns will be vital on Sunday when the Green Bay Packers come to Atlanta in a game that could decide the top seed in the NFC.

New Orleans Saints (7-3)

What went right? The defending champs aren't giving away their crown without a fight. Drew Brees threw for 382 yards and four touchdowns as the Saints rolled over the Seattle Seahawks, 34-19. With the Falcons and Packers getting their share of media attention lately, the Saints will gladly fly under the radar for another week.

What went wrong? LS Jason Kyle was lost for the season to injury, which won't help an already tenuous kicking situation. Reggie Bush missed his eighth game of the season, but should return to action on Thanksgiving in Dallas.

What question needs to be answered? Do they need any extra motivation? If the Saints are worried about traveling to Dallas on short rest, they should be quick to remember the Cowboys handing them their first loss last season. The Cowboys have new life these days under Jason Garrett and Sean Payton can't afford a lackluster performance against a motivated Dallas team in front of a national audience.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3)

What went right? Zero. That's not the amount of things that went right, that's how many points the Bucs surrendered after travelling across the country on their way to their seventh win of the season. This was by far the most complete and least heart-pounding win of the season for Raheem Morris' team; that's a good thing. The defense held Frank Gore to just 23 yards and added six sacks.

What went wrong? The bad news for the Bucs came before game day. Star rookie WR Mike Williams was arrested early Friday morning on DUI charges. While he was under the legal limit, it still brings unwanted negative attention to a young, flourishing team. It seems that poor decision making may be his biggest crime here, but it needs to stop now.

What question needs to be answered? Is this the end of the road? At Baltimore this week and at home against the Falcons next week, these two games will define Tampa Bay's season.

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.


Panther Insider Top Stories