Upon Further Review: NFC South Notes From Week 9

Nov 3, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel (10) catches a touchdown as Tennessee Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler (21) defends in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Week 9 of the 2019 NFL season is in the review mirror for the teams of the NFC South. Two teams, Atlanta and New Orleans, were on their bye week, but the NFC South’s two other teams put on some good football for the world to watch. Starting with the Carolina Panthers in the early game and finishing up with the shootout between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks, the NFC South did not disappoint this week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay’s a secondary away from winning

What a nail-biter in Seattle on Sunday afternoon. Tampa came into Seattle with a chip on their shoulder after losing to the Tennesse Titans in Week 8. Right off the bat, quarterback Jameis Winston drove the Buccaneers down the field for the first touchdown of the day with assistance from running back Ronald Jones II and a penalty. Winston has had an inconsistent 2019 season, but their game against a good Seattle team led by MVP-candidate Russell Wilson showed his potential of what could be as he had himself a great game.

Winston finished the day 29-for-44 with 335 yards, two touchdowns, and two carries for eight yards. Winston’s five-yard run assisted the Buccaneers in keeping the chains moving and ultimately leading to the game-tying touchdown from running back Dare Ogunbowale. Winston and the Buccaneers’ offense went hit-for-hit with Wilson and the Seahawks in the second half of this game.

The Buccaneers’ defense is much to blame for allowing the Seahawks back into the game after holding a 21-13 lead at halftime. Time and time again, this Tampa secondary has allowed opposing teams’ star receivers to have career days. With 1:43 left in the first half, the Buccaneers’ defense allowed Wilson to move the ball from the Seattle 40 to the Buccaneers’ one-yard line. A pass interference call would later help Seattle move from the 39-yard line to the Tampa Bay one. This has been the theme in Tampa as they do not have a good enough cover corner to keep the opposing team’s skill players at bay.

Russell Wilson continues MVP talk

Russell Wilson once again proved why he’s in the MVP conversation as he kept the Seahawks in the game all the way to the last touchdown in overtime to win it. Wilson finished the day 29 of 43 for 378 yards and five touchdowns. The Buccaneers did all they could to contain Wilson, preventing him from gaining much on his feet. This, of course, came with his passing numbers reaching nearly 400 yards. Tampa came into Week 9 with the 31st-ranked passing defense while at the same time having the No. 1 overall rushing defense.

The Seahawks took full advantage of rookie cornerback Jamel Dean and third-year cornerback Vernon Hargreaves. Wilson proved once again that he is more than capable of being a passing quarterback on Sunday regardless of the Buccaneers’ porous passing defense.

What’s next for Tampa?

Tampa Bay finally comes home after not playing a single home game inside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa since late September. They will take on the Arizona Cardinals with hopes to start a winning streak and bring the home fans a win at home. It’s been a brutal road trip for Tampa with a game in London squeezed in the middle of it. Look for Jameis Winston to have a good game at the league’s worse pass defense along with newly-appointed starting running back Ronald Jones II to also have a good outing.

Carolina Panthers

Christain McCaffery is still getting it done

To say Christain McCaffery has been anything less than exciting to watch in the Carolina Panthers’ offense would be outright wrong. Take away the two games against Tampa Bay and he’s been the most dominant player in the league. Quarterback Kyle Allen found McCaffery for a seven-yard score to put the Panthers up 10-0 over the Tennessee Titans in the middle of the second quarter on a fourth down situation. This would be his only receiving touchdown of the game, but his 146 rushing yards on 24 carries helped keep the Panthers’ offense moving the ball between the 20s.

Kyle Allen gradually became comfortable

It took most of the first quarter for Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen to start to get into a rhythm against the Titans. After an interception in the first quarter inside the Titans’ 40 yard-line, Allen was able to get things going on offense with passes to wideouts Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore, allowing himself to have 169 passing yards on 13 completions at the half. In the second half, it was all Carolina against Tennessee as the offense was able to move the ball down the field to score on two trips to the Titans’ side of the field. Samuel and Moore are emerging as key players in the passing game when the opposing defense takes star tight end Greg Olsen out of the game.

What’s next for Carolina?

Carolina will have a tall task ahead of them as they take on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The defense will need to mind their P’s and Q’s against a dangerous quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. If Carolina can get their hands the Sunday’s game film of the Los Angeles Chargers’ defense, they might be able to find someways to get to Rodgers and prevent him from driving his offense down the field.

Bye Weeks: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints

What next for Atlanta?

The Atlanta Falcons have the tall task of taking on the NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes Benz Dome early Sunday afternoon. The early reports are that quarterback Matt Ryan might be a go for Sunday’s divisional matchup. The fading Falcons will need to bring some magic and good luck with them on both the offense and the defense. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter’s pass-heavy offense has not been a strong point in Ryan’s 2019 season, but you can never count out wide receiver Julio Jones. With cornerback Desmond Trufant having a shot at playing Sunday, the Atlanta defense will at least have some chance at stopping Brees’ passing attack.

What’s Next for New Orleans?

As mentioned, the Saints will be taking on a losing Falcons team to help them move to 8-1 on the season. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees looked like his normal self in their Week 8 matchup with Arizona and will look to build upon that. The Saints are sitting comfortably atop the NFC South and will have a chance to go 2-0 in the division. The Saints will come out of their bye week nearly 100 percent healthy, which should bode well during the second half of this season when they will play seven divisional games, including Sunday’s Falcons game.

 

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