NFC South

With 3 games remaining in the NFL season, the NFC South division winner is still up for grabs. The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers are not mathematically eliminated from claiming the division spot, but their record and play over the course of the season says it's very likely that they will not make the playoffs. The Saints and Panthers are both 5-8, three games under .500. The Saints' next three games are at Arizona, home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and at Atlanta.

This is a schedule that should favor the opposing team. The Carolina Panthers' next three games are at Washington, home against Atlanta, and at Tampa Bay. This is another schedule that should favor the opposing team, being that there are injuries to Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly. This leaves us to the two teams that stand atop the NFC South tied at 8-5, the Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons have a high-powered offense who can go touchdown for touchdown with any NFL team. Their defense on the other hand can be shaky at times and not efficient. The Falcons defense is ranked at 28th in the league, giving up 376 yards per game. With a toe injury to their top receiver Julio Jones, the Falcons could still put up high offensive numbers. They were without their receiver last Sunday and put a beat down on the Los Angeles Rams (beating them 42-14).

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The Atlanta Falcons defense showed up that game, forcing 5 turnovers and holding the Rams to 14 points. If the Falcons can play with the same momentum over their next three games as they did against the Rams, Atlanta will be crowned NFC South champions.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a tenacious team and a hungry team to win the NFC South. The Bucs started the season 1-3, but their defense picked up and the Buccaneers have won 5 straight games.

Last Sunday, the Bucs shut down the NFL's best offensive team in the New Orleans Saints. The Saints had no touchdowns and scored on 3 field goals, plus a safety, for a total of 11 points. Not only has their defense been leading them to victory, but their offense has been leading them to wins as well. Credit has to go to their 2015 number 1 overall pick Jameis Winston. Winston ranks in the top 10 of total QBR and ranks 9th in the NFL with 23 touchdowns. If the Bucs defense and offense continue to play as they have been over the past 5 games, the Bucs could also win the NFC South.

Who wins?

The Atlanta Falcons should stand atop the NFC South once the season concludes. They should go 3-0 in their next three games against the 49ers, the Panthers, and the Saints. The Buccaneers next games are against the Cowboys, Saints, and Panthers. I see the Bucs going 2-1 over their next three games, losing to the Cowboys on Sunday. If they so happen to go 3-0, The Atlanta Falcons own the tie-breaker over Tampa Bay based on best win percentage in common games.

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