Following a nail-biting 16-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New Orleans Saints improved to 2-0 and retained sole possession of first place in the NFC South. The Atlanta Falcons were able to come away with a victory against the St. Louis Rams, but the other two members of the NFC South, the Carolina Panthers and the Buccaneers both fell to 0-2.
In a year where quite a few people are picking New Orleans to not win the division but make it to the playoffs, the season is starting off very interestingly for the Saints. Following a year in which their defense gave up a record setting 7,042 yards and the team as a whole suffered from a lack of Sean Payton, New Orleans has had a great start.
Granted, their wins against the Falcons and Buccaneers came down to the wire and were won no more than six points, but in the NFL a win is a win is a win. It’s really too early to begin making predictions about who will make the playoffs and how, but again, I will go out on a limb and say that barring any injuries to some key personnel, I believe that New Orleans has a excellent shot at taking back the NFC South title from Atlanta.
Both New Orleans and Atlanta still have to face the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers and those games have the potential to be difficult wins for both teams. The difference to me is that where as New Orleans will play the Chicago Bears of the NFC North, Atlanta will have to play the Green Bay Packers.
New Orleans defeating Chicago is something that I think can be done, even at soldier field as I’m still not sold on Chicago’s renewed focus on the offense under new head coach Marc Trestman. Atlanta on the other hand has to go into Green Bay in the middle of December and play. December games are tough enough, but December games at Lambeau Field are even tougher.
I have no idea what the Saints or Falcons records will be like come December, but I’m willing to bet that a loss to Green Bay at that time would not bode well for their chances at claiming the NFC South title two year in a row. Regardless, New Orleans stands a good chance at improving to 3-0 after next week.