With the Sunday Night Football game between the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished, the entire NFC South has now played at least half of their games for 2020. The Saints were the final team to finish up their eighth game. The other three teams have already played nine games. Which team is in control of the NFC South going forward? Have the Carolina Panthers made strides with their new roster? Have the Atlanta Falcons rebounded from their abysmal start to the year? This is the NFC South Midseason Review for 2020.
NFC South Current Standings
After the New Orleans Saints dismantling of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football in Week 9, the Saints find themselves leading the NFC South. The Saints started off the season 1-2 after losses to the Green Bay Packers and Las Vegas Raiders. Since then, the Saints have won five straight games and have taken the lead in the NFC South at 6-2. Having two wins over the contending Buccaneers gives the Saints a massive advantage as the season progresses. The Buccaneers are firmly in second place at 6-3 but are only 3-3 in the NFC.
The Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers are in a relevant tie for third in the NFC South. Both teams are sitting at 3-6 but each has shown promise. The rebuilt Carolina Panthers have been tough against opponents and only have a negative 16 point differential on the season. Likewise, the Falcons have rebounded from their early-season woes. The Falcons started 0-5 but have won three of their past four games. Point differential is also very low for the Atlanta Falcons at negative eight.
NFC South Team Statistics
The NFC South has three teams in the top 10 offenses in the NFL. The lowest-ranked team is the Carolina Panthers who still come in as a respectable 16th on the season. This is mostly due to the passing offense led by Teddy Bridgewater. Coming in at fourth, fifth, and sixth in total offense is the Buccaneers, Saints, and Falcons, respectively. It should come as no surprise that these teams have great offenses with the quarterbacking in the division. Tom Brady has led the Buccaneers to 20 passing touchdowns, most in the NFC South. The ever-consistent Drew Brees has kept pace even with the injury woes to his receivers Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Alvin Kamara is the NFL’s leader in all-purpose yards and also props up the Saints offense. Matt Ryan has had to throw the ball the most in the NFC South mostly due to a poor defensive showing for the Falcons. This has led to the Falcons having the second overall passing offense in the entire NFL.
NFC South defensive rankings are not nearly as touted across the board. The New Orleans Saints come in as the top NFC South defense and 11th overall in the entire NFL. Since Marcus Davenport was activated from the injury list, the Saints’ defense has been much better. The Saints currently boast the top rushing defense and the eighth-ranked passing defense. The Buccaneers are the 13th overall defense mostly thanks to having the third-ranked rushing defense. Coming in towards the lower NFL defensive rankings are the Panthers and Falcons. Carolina Panthers rebuilt their defense over the off-season and has experienced growing pains, coming in at 21st overall. The Falcons are near the bottom of the defensive rankings, coming in at 30th overall.
NFC South Midseason Review Overview
NFC South offenses have led to some entertainment through the first half of the 2020 season. Tom Brady being in the division has also led to some must-watch games through the first half of the season. The Buccaneers will look to play catchup with the Saints going forward. The Saints started off the season slowly but have cemented themselves as NFC contenders in the past four weeks. The future looks bright for the young Carolina Panthers. Matt Ryan and the Falcons have played much better since the firing of former head coach Dan Quinn. The Falcons will look to contend for a wild card playoff spot in the last half of the season. With many prominent players, championship-caliber teams, and interesting head coaching storylines, the NFC South should be entertaining going forward.