Panthers: NFC South Overview – Week 9

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

Nov 6, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view of a NFL football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum (17) throws a pass under pressure from Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson (95) with the Olympic torch as a backdrop. The Panthers defeated the Rams 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 6, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view of a NFL football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum (17) throws a pass under pressure from Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson (95) with the Olympic torch as a backdrop. The Panthers defeated the Rams 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Slowly climbing back into playoff contention, the Carolina Panthers have won two in a row following their bye week. Currently facing the most difficult stretch of the season, including three of the next five against a powerful AFC West, the Saints on a short-week, and another west coast trip with two games, one in Seattle; the Panthers playoff chances will be answered shortly.

Alternatively, the New Orleans Saints remaining schedule is favorable as they could challenge the Falcons for the NFC South division title down the road. Speaking of Atlanta, their record last season after nine games, 6-3, same as this year yet they finished 8-8 last season. There remains a lot of football left to play entering Week 10 this season.

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

Nov 3, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) spikes the ball after they scored a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Atlanta Falcons defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 43-28. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA FALCONS (6-3), 1st Place

Week 9 Outcome: Falcons 43, Buccaneers 28

Week 10 Opponent: at Philadelphia Eagles (4-4), 1:00pm

After a slow start, the Atlanta Falcons rolled over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football to kickoff the Week Nine action. Demonstrating the power of their dominant offense, minus Tevin Coleman and Jacob Tamme, the Falcons put up 43 points on the evening. This year’s Atlanta team doesn’t seemed destined to suffer the same fate as last season when they birds went 2-5 down the stretch.

However, prior to the bye week they will travel to Philadelphia to face an Eagles team that has yet to lose a home game. Losing four of their last five, expect the Eagles to challenge the Falcons and possibly bring even more teams back into the fold for the NFC South division title.

Nov 6, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) carries the ball to score a 75-yard touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter at Levi

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (4-4), 2nd Place

Week 9 Outcome: Saints 41, 49ers 23

Week 10 Opponent: vs. Denver Broncos (6-3), 1:00pm

After starting the season 0-3, the New Orleans Saints have won four of their last five and look to be improving each week. Facing the Denver Broncos this week, the Saints will be playing in the Superdome and the Broncos are only 2-2 when outside of Mile High. If New Orleans can win again, they will be right on the heels of the division leading Atlanta Falcons.

The first move within in the division in quite some time, the Saints overtook the Buccaneers for second place with their win over San Francisco. Both teams appear to be heading in opposite directions for the remainder of the season.

Nov 3, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber (43) carries the ball as Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Vic Beasley (44) and Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn (99) tackles during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (3-5), 3rd Place

Week 9 Outcome: Buccaneers 28, Falcons 43

Week 10 Opponent: vs. Chicago Bears (2-6), 1:00pm

The Buccaneers suffered a difficult loss to the Falcons that could have put that right in the middle of the division title talk. However, with the loss the Bucs are falling in the standings and face a tough schedule the rest of the way. To further complicate matters, the last images seen of franchise quarterback Jameis Winston were on the training table in pain Thursday night. However, he did practice Monday and appears to have avoided any long-term injury.

Between the Bears and Bucs, one team will accomplish something for the first time this season at the conclusion of Sunday’s contest. Either the Bucs win their first home game or Chicago wins for the first time on the road. Tampa Bay needs a win to keep pace in the division.

Nov 6, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (88) flips the ball after a touchdown in the first quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

CAROLINA PANTHERS (3-5), 4th Place

Week 9 Outcome: Panthers 13, Rams 10

Week 10 Opponent: vs. Kansas City Chiefs (6-2), 1:00pm

Despite winning two in a row, the Carolina Panthers have yet to climb up from the bottom of the division. However, the team has played better since the bye week and is heading in a positive direction at the moment.

As cliche’ as it sounds, the Carolina approach has to be one game at a time. Historically, teams that are 3-5 through Week Nine of the season have only an 8.7 percent chance to make the playoffs, but no team has ever made the playoffs from 2-6, so the win on Sunday looms large in the long run.

Facing teams with a combined 22-10-1 record over the next four weeks, Carolina will need to continue their inspired play to keep a return to the playoffs alive. The Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) are up first and are expected to have their starting quarterback, Alex Smith, back in action.

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