Making The Grade?
By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Going into the season many experts thought the NFC South would be the toughest division. Now that we’re a little more than halfway through the season let’s take a look at how each team is doing and grade them on their midseason report card.
Tampa Bay: The Buccaneers (6-3) have a lot of hype surrounding them.
As you know they signed the greatest quarterback of all time Tom Brady in the off-season. They also traded to get his favorite target, tight end Rob Gronkowski. They already had Pro Bowl wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
They also signed running back Leonard Fournette and recently acquired future Hall of Fame receiver Antonio Brown.
They are stacked with talent, but the Saints are their kryptonite. They were swept by New Orleans and they did not play well in those games.
This past week they were pummeled 38 – 3 by them. The week before they barely beat the 1-7 New York Giants 25 – 23.
The defense is pretty good, ranked fourth in the league in total defense.
The Bucs are a playoff team but not as good as we expected. Grade: B-.
New Orleans: The Saints (6-2) are flying high. Their tied for the best record in the NFC.
They have the potential to be the top seed and have home field advantage in the playoffs. I will admit that with limited crowd sizes this season due to the pandemic it might not mean as much as it has previously.
Star wide receiver Michael Thomas has missed several games due to a suspension for a fight in practice and a hamstring injury.
In the two games he’s played in he has 8 catches and 68 yards. On the bright side he should be well rested.
The defense is 3rd in the league in total defense, allowing 312 yards and 25 points per game.
New Orleans is the total package. Grade: A.
Atlanta: The Falcons (3-6) got off to another slow start, losing the first five games of the season.
Head Coach Dan Quinn was fired, and Raheem Morris was named the interim head coach.
In those four games they are 3-1. I look at it as too little, too late. Quarterback Matt Ryan is leading the league in passing yards and he’s on his way to another Pro Bowl.
Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are both on pace to have over a thousand yards and they both have missed games.
Running back Todd Gurley was signed as a free agent and he’s having a decent season.
Gurley is fifth in rushing yards (584) and second in rushing touchdowns (9). The defense is 28th in total defense, allowing 410 YPG and 27.9 PPG.
Carolina: The Panthers (3-6) got rid of Cam Newton and signed Teddy Bridgewater to replace him.
The best running back in the NFL, Christian McCaffrey is their only real threat on offense.
McCaffrey injured his ankle Week 2 and missed 6 games before returning Week 9.
They signed former Jets receiver Robby Anderson as a free agent and that was a great move. Anderson is fourth in the league in receiving yards with 751. DJ Moore is also having a good season with 640 receiving yards and 3 TD’s.
The defense is average, ranking 17th in total defense. They give up 362 YPG and 25 PPG.