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Falcons and Panthers struggle, but win anyway

The NFC South doesn’t look overly impressive so far.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

After one NFL Sunday, the NFC South is 2-0—but it wasn’t easy for the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers to take home the win. Or rather, it wasn’t easy for the Falcons, while the Panthers had little trouble with the San Francisco 49ers but were at best unimpressive.

The Falcons played one of the prospective worst teams in the league in the Chicago Bears, who started Mike Glennon at quarterback with few offensive weapons. And yet, the Bears should have won: two endzone drops on the final drive of the game stopped a 23-17 deficit from turning into 24-23 Bears win.

That’s good and bad news for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Good news: the Falcons were thoroughly unimpressive against what is likely to be a very bad team. Bad news: they’re 1-0, and every win is significant in the NFL.

We can say similar things about the Carolina Panthers, albeit to a lesser extent. They faced even worse opposition in Brian Hoyer and the extraordinarily weaponless 49ers offense, but at least they kept those guys to just a single field goal. That’s pretty impressive.

Cam Newton and company were less impressive, though. Newton completed just 14 of 25 passes for 171 yards, two touchdowns and one interception (one of those to Russell Shepard) and the Panthers running game got some decent total yardage, but wasn’t that productive on a per-play basis. Against, again, one of the weakest teams in the NFL.

Those were the only two NFC South games we saw yesterday. The New Orleans Saints take on the Minnesota Vikings tonight, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers saw their game against the Miami Dolphins moved to later in the season due to Hurricane Irma.

So far, the NFC South doesn’t look overly impressive—and if the first week was an indication, the Bucs shouldn’t be facing overly stiff competition for the division crown.