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NFC South Quick Hits: Week 3

The NFC South is one of two NFL divisions with two undefeated teams.  Each plays an injured foe this weekend, making it likely that last years’ worst division will head into week 4 with two undefeated squads.  Here is a quick look at this week’s games.

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

The 0-2 Saints cannot catch a break, heading to Carolina this week to play the 2-0 Panthers.  While the Panthers have not looked strong in their two wins, they are ranked 4th in total defense, and second in points allowed against.

Meanwhile, the Saints will be without Drew Brees, who has an injured shoulder.  Brees has not missed a game for injury in something like 6,000 years, and has been the clear leader of the team over the last decade.  Winning with Luke McCown in his place against the stout Carolina defense seems unlikely.

Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys

Also sitting at 2-0, the Falcons must go on the road to face the Dallas Cowboys.  The Cowboys are likewise undefeated this season, but will be missing Dez Bryant, Tony Romo, and Defensive End Randy Gregory.  The Dallas defense has looked good, and has been allowing the second-least yards in the league and only 18 points per game, good for fifth.

It is difficult to see that sort of performance against Julio Jones and the Falcons, especially if backup quarterback Brandon Weeden turns the ball over attempting to make plays.  If Atlanta plays a solid, smart game, they have a good chance of earning a road victory.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Houston Texans

The 1-1 Buccaneers head to Houston to take on the disappointing 0-2 Texans.  Rookie quartberback Jameis Winston recovered from a tough opening week to lead the Bucs to a victory with a solid second game.  He will have his work cut out for him this week. Though the Texans have struggled, JJ Watt continues to play like the top defensive player of his generation.  He had an incredible 9 pressures, 9 total tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks in the opening week against Kansas City, before self-reporting that he was triple teamed throughout week 2.

Meanwhile, Jadaveon Clowney has returned, playing on a “snap count” in his first couple of weeks.  While he has yet to make a big impact in the stat sheet, he has earned praise for being disruptive and setting the edge well in the running game.  This game will come down to whether or not the Buccaneers offensive line, which has two rookies starting, can keep Winston upright.