How the Saints’ Week 5 win affected the NFC South
By Kristen Wong
After the New Orleans Saints’ Week 5 win, they sit in measly third place. Their record is tied with the Carolina Panthers (3-2) but Carolina gets the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still the favorites to win the division, per WynnBET. Shocker.
Is there anything hopeful about the Saints’ division-winning chances?
Despite being behind the Panthers, the Saints can take comfort in knowing Carolina lost their second straight game in a row against the Eagles last week. (They blew a lead too — ha!)
The week before that, the Panthers fell to the Cowboys, powerless against Dak Prescott’s four-touchdown performance.
Carolina does have an easier path ahead of them as they face the Vikings, Giants, and Falcons, but maybe their recently fortified secondary unit isn’t as good as it’s chalked up to be.
The last-place Falcons have just one fewer win than the Saints, but Atlanta hasn’t beaten very challenging teams so far. They bested the Giants and the Jets in close games but were blown out by the Eagles and the Bucs.
Suffice to say, the Falcons will not be a worthy competitor in the NFC South this year. That just leaves the Buccaneers, who the Saints will face each other on Oct. 31.
Halloween seems like an apt day for this matchup to take place, as a host of different factors could lead to frightening results. Tom Brady could scorch Marshon Lattimore and the secondary. Jameis Winston could throw any number of interceptions. And most frightening of all, Michael Thomas could return to the lineup and be…terrible.
New Orleans Saints’ position in NFC South remains unchanged, Bucs’ Brady still reigns king
According to WynnBET, the Bucs remain the huge favorites to win the NFC South at -500 odds while New Orleans is +400.
After Brady’s historic five-touchdown, 411-yard performance against the Dolphins last week, Tampa Bay seems to have the fewest weaknesses of the other NFC South teams. Strong quarterback play, an excellent passing game, and the acquisition of Richard Sherman are all things Tampa can brag about to the Saints.
As good as Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris have been, they wouldn’t light a match next to the offensive fireworks of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown.
The only promising tidbit lies in the fact that Tampa’s pass defense sits dead last in the league. Hopefully, other teams can start to poke holes in this 4-1 Bucs team and knock them off their NFC South first-place perch. Given that Tampa faces the Eagles and Bears next (no offense), that team might have to be the Saints in Week 8.
In the sportswriting business, it’s never too healthy to look that far ahead, and take all betting projections with a spoonful of salt.
The Saints’ chances of winning the division haven’t changed much after Week 5, but they have a shot at beating the odds if they take it one game at a time.