Panthers: NFC South Overview – Week 8

How did teams from the NFC South Division fare during Week Eight of the NFL season and how it relates to the Carolina Panthers…

Oct 30, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) tackles a leaping Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers defeated the Cardinals 30-20. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers reverted back to their old form on Sunday in a dominating win over the Arizona Cardinals. Whether it was enough to turn the tide of the season remains to be seen, but for the time being served its’ purpose as Carolina held their standing among the division. The win really could have put the Panthers back in the mix, but Atlanta squeaked out a victory late against Green Bay. Carolina needs to continue the defensive presence that existed among the front seven next week and string together a few wins.

Atlanta and Tampa Bay will kick off Week Nine on Thursday night in a game that will impact the division. Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has never lost to the Falcons, winning both games last year and the season opener 31-24, in the Georgia Dome.

Continue to view each teams’ outcome from Week Eight and a preview of the week ahead.

Oct 30, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) celebrates their win against the Green Bay Packers at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons won 33-32. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA FALCONS (5-3), 1st Place

Week 8 Outcome: Falcons 33, Packers 32

Week 9 Opponent: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4), 8:25pm*

Atlanta squeaked out a victory over Green Bay on Sunday scoring a touchdown with approximately 30 seconds remaining in the game. After dropping two in a row, the Falcons needed a win to maintain control over the NFC South.

The Falcons now face divisional rival, Tampa Bay on a short week in front of a national audience. After losing at home to open the season, expect Atlanta to come out ready to avenge the early loss. Defensively, the Falcons are improving with each week and if the offense continues to post video game type numbers, Atlanta will be tough to supplant from atop the division.

*Thursday Night Football

Oct 30, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah (38) reacts after they lost to the Oakland Raiders in overtime at Raymond James Stadium. Oakland Raiders defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (3-4), 2nd Place

Week 8 Outcome: Buccaneers 24, Raiders 30 (OT)

Week 9 Opponent: vs. Atlanta Falcons (5-3), 8:25pm*

The Buccaneers suffered a disappointing loss against Oakland in overtime this week. Had the Bucs won, Thursday night’s game would have been for control of the division. Even still, if Tampa Bay can record a second victory against the division leading Falcons, it could make for an interesting stretch run to conclude the schedule.

Riddled with injuries, the Buccaneers have managed to stay afloat and as they get healthier could battle for a playoff spot. However, they desperately need a win this week. It seems the Bucs season hangs in the balance, a loss could also send the team into a tailspin.

*Thursday Night Football

Oct 30, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates after a win against the Seattle Seahawks in a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Seahawks 25-20. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (3-4), 3rd Place

Week 8 Outcome: Saints 25, Seahawks 20

Week 9 Opponent: at San Francisco 49ers (1-6), 4:05pm

Is their a harder team to decipher in the NFC? After losing three straight to start the year, the Saints are 3-1 in the last four weeks. Partly due to injuries among their secondary, the Saints have a favorable schedule in the second half of the season and could surprise among the division. Also, with four divisional games remaining, three in the last four weeks, don’t count New Orleans out just yet.

If New Orleans rebounds, look for the win over Seattle to be a proven catalyst. The Seahawks were a quality opponent, but couldn’t overcome Drew Brees inside the dome. It may be early, but a Week 17 game at Atlanta could have playoff implications.

Oct 30, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (13) runs after a catch in the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

CAROLINA PANTHERS (2-5), 4th Place

Week 8 Outcome: Panthers 30, Cardinals 20

Week 9 Opponent: at Los Angeles Rams (3-4), 4:05pm

The playoffs for the Carolina Panthers began last week. Facing almost definite elimination with another loss or two, Carolina needs wins. With their backs against the wall, the Panthers responded against Arizona and quarterback Carson Palmer. An absent pass rush reappeared to the tune of eight sacks, a forced fumble, and a defensive touchdown.

As bad as Carolina limped into the bye week with a 1-5 record, the team roared on Sunday. Looking like the team fans expected to be playing all season, the Panthers showed they have the potential to climb out of the basement of the division. If they have the time is the question.

The Panthers will now travel across the country to take on the Rams who relocated to Los Angeles. Needing another win, Carolina hopes to continue their rejuvenated performances on both sides of the football to stay relevant in the divisional race.

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