Charlotte, NC - When the NFL first came out with its new division alignment, the NFC South was billed as of one the weaker divisions. After the first 3 weeks of the season it is showing that it could turn out to be one of the stronger ones. All four of its teams have done well out of the gates. With the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints posting perfect 3-0 records, they are the surprises of the league, at least to the experts that is. Tampa has posted a 2-1 record, including a win last Monday night against the defending NFC champs, the St Louis Rams. Atlanta has played very well despite their 1-2 record. Here is a quick check in on our division rivals and how they have looked so for this year.
New Orleans Saints
Right now this team looks like it could beat just about anyone, and so far they have been up to the task. With one of the harder opening schedules they have won games in every fashion including a week one overtime victory against Tampa, a solid win over the Packers in Green Bay, and a 20 point comeback win to defeat the Chicago Bears. Their leader is QB Aaron Brooks, and a very strong group of receivers. Their defense has also been making the plays they are called on to make. Look for the team to make a push into the playoffs if they can keep from making the nosedive they did last year.
Tampa Bay Bucs
Before the season started they were ready to hand this team the division title, but the Bucs find themselves sitting in third after the great starts of New Orleans and Carolina. Their one loss came from the hands of division rival New Orleans. This was a heartbreaker. They fought back into a game that they were dominated in, to force overtime, only to lose it on a bad snap to the punter. Tupa then was looking to make something happen and threw the ball directly to a Saints player in the endzone to end the game. Week two, the defense showed why it has carried this team for so long, by recording a shutout against the Baltimore Ravens. Also, the defense showed up again in a big Monday night game against the St Louis Rams. They forced Kurt Warner to have one of the worst games of his NFL career, and knocked out Marshall Faulk. One thing to watch with this team is the chemistry. Coach Gruden and Keyshawn Johnson were shown to be having a little discussion during the Rams game. Different coach, some old story line with Johnson???
This could be the best 1-2 team in the league, words every team loves to hear. This team has looked very impressive despite the losing record. They have been fighting an injury bug so far this season, mostly in the linebacking corps, which isn?t good when you run a 3-4 defense (3 defensive lineman, and 4 linebackers). They have been in every game, just to lose the lead late in the fourth quarter. They took Green Bay to wire in the first game of the season and then followed that up by doing the same against Chicago. This past Sunday, they were able to post their first win by defeating the Cincinnati Bengals. Expect this team to make life difficult for the powers of the NFC, and for Michael Vick to do his best to give opposing defensive coordinators a heart attack.