The Atlanta Falcons (2-2) crashed and burned in a road loss to the Minnesota Vikings 41-28 on Sunday, amid a plethora of injuries. The New York Giants (2-2), on the other hand, come into this week’s contest relatively healthy and riding a two game winning streak.
The Carolina Panthers cut the face of the franchise, Steve Smith, and let the only other three wide receivers on the roster that caught a pass last season leave as free agents. Tight end Greg Olsen is the only proven receiver returning from last season’s squad. Olsen should be Cam Newton’s favorite target this season.
Six weeks ago, the New Orleans Saints suffered their worst loss of the season in a game where they were absolutely demolished by the Seattle Seahawks. Immediately afterward, head coach Sean Payton told his players to put the game behind them because they would get another shot. Payton was right as the Saints are meeting the Seahawks again, and there are four big things they need to do, in order to win.
The Carolina Panthers had to win the last game of the season to get the NFC South title and a first-round bye so it’s not like it was a time they could rest their players. Steve Smith had to sit out with an injury, and there were not a lot of other options for Cam Newton to rely on, but there need to be.
The Carolina Panthers started off the season with a 1-3 start, and were tied with the Atlanta Falcons for second place. It wasn’t a second place that was even close to the NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints, but the rest of the season proved to turn out completely different.
Drew Brees will be much more successful against the Eagles defense than back-up Kyle Orton was in the final game of the regular season. But, if the Eagles can knock Brees off his game, then the Saints could quickly run out of options to try and keep up wit the Eagles offense.
Both the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers sit tied atop the NFC South at 10-4. One of them will emerge as the winner of the conference in two weeks. The question is, who will secure the division title?
In a game that was expected to be a defensive battle, the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers both displayed very efficient offenses. Unfortunately for New England, Carolina’s offense was just a little more efficient.
No one thought the Carolina Panthers were a serious Super Bowl contender when they started the 2013 season losing three of their first four games, but thanks to a five-game winning streak, they are now one of the hottest teams in the league.
Even if the New England Patriots had lost this game to the New Orleans Saints, they had still demonstrated they could go toe-to-toe with an elite NFL team. Thanks to Tom Brady and Kenbrell Thompkins, New England didn’t have to settle for a mere moral victory.