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NFC South Report: Falcons and Panthers win, Buccaneers lose by six

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The Falcons have been criticized as of late for blowing big leads and allowing lesser opponents to hang around for far too long, and against the Vikings they once again blew a 17 point lead while nearly letting Minnesota steal the win.

Early in the fourth quarter the Atlanta defense allowed Viking wide receiver/kick returner Percy Harvin to get behind the coverage. Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder then hit him in stride for a 39-yard touchdown catch.

Harvin’s grab brought the Vikings into within three points of the Falcon — 17-14.

Later though Atlanta’s defense redeemed themselves after stuffing running back Toby Gerhart, who is filling in for the injured Adrian Peterson, on a fourth-and-1 from the goal line for a two yard loss.

The Falcons now trail the New Orleans Saints by one-half game in the NFC South, and will have to try and even their division record against them in week 16 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome — where so far New Orleans is 4-0 this year.

Tampa Bay (4-7) lost it’s fifth straight game after turning the ball over five times against the Tennessee Titans. But that wasn’t the only negative as they allowed Titan running back Chris Johnson to rush for 190 yards.

Johnson has struggled mightily this year unitl he seemed to find his stride against the Buccaneers porous rush defense.

Tampa is still mathematically in the playoff race, but each loss buries them farther back in the crowded NFC. With no real chance at winning the division, barring an epic turn around, it would appear they are now only playing for pride.