The NFL has officially made it through the first four weeks of the season. Although there are 17 games this year, this is still about a quarter of the way through the year. After four games, the NFC South seems wide open. The Buccaneers seem vulnerable and have yet to look like the juggernaut which won last year’s Super Bowl. In Carolina, the Panthers are one of the league’s best surprises. Meanwhile, the Saints and Falcons are struggling, looking as if their best games are in the past. This is the NFC South quarter season review for the 2021 NFL season.
NFC South Breakdown After Four Games
After the first four games of the season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently tied with the division lead at 3-1. The only blemish on the Buccaneers record is on the road against the Los Angeles Rams. This NFC loss might mean something when seeding begins later in the year.
The Buccaneers have not been great like they were in the latter half of last year so far. Only four teams in the NFC have given up more points than the Buccaneers defense. Injuries and age have really hurt their early season. The offense has picked up the slack though, scoring more than all but two other NFC teams. If this defense rounds into form as the year moves in, the Buccaneers will likely stay near the top of this division.
The Panthers might have something to say in this division though. They are also sitting at 3-1 as well on the year. The Panthers first loss was on the road to the Dallas Cowboys. The team has renewed the career of Sam Darnold this season. Darnold currently has his career-high in completion percentage, interception rate, and yards per pass.
ANOTHER Sam Darnold touchdown!!!
📺: FOX pic.twitter.com/FJJlYqknYW
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) October 3, 2021
Darnold has been good but it is the defense that deserves most of the accolades. On the year, the Panthers defense has allowed a meager 66 points. There is only one other team that has allowed less than 85, and that is divisional for New Orleans. The Panthers also seem to be all-in this year, recently trading for cornerback superstar Stephon Gilmore. If this team keeps getting better, they could be a surprise contender for the NFC South.
Falcons and Saints Struggling so Far
Both the Falcons and Saints are struggling so far in 2021. Each team has had significant turnover from last year though. The Falcons lost Julio Jones after last season and replaced their entire front office. Matt Ryan and Calvin Ridley are still on the team but have yet to gel on the field. Ridley has yet to go over 100 yards in a single game this season even though he has received 52 targets in just four games.
First-round draft pick Kyle Pitts has yet to prove he was worthy of the selection and will need to quickly replace some of the Falcons offensive output lost with Julio Jones’ departure. Ryan is currently on pace to throw the ball over 450 times this season as the Falcons chase points. This Falcons defense has the most points scored against them in the entire league, leading to this offense having to play catchup most games.
The Falcons thought they were getting the next Julio Jones in Kyle Pitts.
Little did they know, they got the next Roddy White in Cordarrelle Patterson.pic.twitter.com/JRAGUG09FU
— Dave Kluge (@DaveKluge) October 6, 2021
The Saints are also struggling with a record of just 2-2. One of these losses was to the surging Panthers, but the other was to a bad New York Giants team. The Saints have had a plethora of early-season woes but this team of veterans did not respond to the challenges. Turnover has also been an issue with the Saints after losing many key role players this past off-season as well as future Hall of Famer Drew Brees.
The entire Saints offense has struggled so far this year, scoring just 94 points on the year. Eleven other teams in just the NFC have scored the same or more than the Saints so far. This is not the normal offense under Sean Payton. Jameis Winston has yet to show why he won the Saints quarterback job so far either. As such, bookies have been pretty hard on the Saints in point spreads this year. To find quality oddsmakers, it’s best to search for online casino ratings to assure you’re getting the most points to work with.
NFC South Season Review and Going Forward
The NFC South is still wide open. Even teams like the Saints and Falcons have the playmakers and abilities to win games. No team is currently undefeated and divisional games have not yet gotten going. The next several games should help determine who is and is not contenders. The first four games really showed that the NFC South will be an interesting division going forward and one that is up for grabs for any of these teams.
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