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Around the NFC South: Week 13

Tampa Bay got out of the NFC South basement on Sunday. What else went down in the division in week 13?

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers picked up their second straight win on Sunday, beating the Panthers 24-17 at Raymond James Stadium. The win, combined with another result in the division, got them out of last place. Tampa Bay is now 5-7 and still has a mathematical chance at making the playoffs, but would need to win out against a really tough schedule. Regardless, the Bucs are in third place and have a chance to improve to 3-2 in NFC South play next week against the Saints.

Before we move on to week 14, let’s check in on what else happened in the division during week 13.

New Orleans Saints (10-2)

The Saints saw their 10-game winning streak snapped on Thursday night in Dallas as they fell 13-10 to the Cowboys. The potent New Orleans offense never quite got going, falling behind 13-0 before finally getting on the board in the third quarter. A 33-yard field goal by Wil Lutz with 10 minutes left in the quarter got the Saints within 13-3 and a 30-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees to Keith Kirkwood closed the gap to three late in the third quarter. But from there, New Orleans got shut out. Overall, the Cowboys outgained the Saints 308-176 and overcame two turnovers to win the game.

Brees had a rough night, completing 18 of his 28 passes for just 127 yards and a touchdown. He was also intercepted in the loss. Alvin Kamara never got going, rushing for just 36 yards on 11 carries in addition to catching eight passes for 36 yards. Cameron Jordan and Marshon Lattimore both recovered fumbles in the loss.

Up Next: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7)

Carolina Panthers (6-6)

The Panthers suffered their fourth straight loss on Sunday, falling 24-17 to the Buccaneers in Tampa. They have officially gone from 6-2 to 6-6, watching their playoff hopes take hit after hit in the last four weeks. Sunday’s game didn’t get off to a great start for Carolina, as Tampa Bay went up 10-0 in the first quarter. The Panthers got within 10-7 and later 17-10, but the Bucs came back and took a 24-10 lead that turned out to be big enough to keep. Cam Newton found Devin Funchess for a late touchdown, but one last drive was unsuccessful. Carolina put up 444 yards to Tampa Bay’s 315, but four turnovers were too much to overcome.

Newton was picked off four times in the loss while completing 28 of his 41 passes for 300 yards and two scores. Christian McCaffrey kept his hot streak alive, running for 106 yards on 10 carries. He added nine catches for 55 yards and a touchdown. Curtis Samuel was the Panthers’ leading receiver, hauling in six of his 11 targets for 88 yards. The Carolina defense sacked Jameis Winston four times and hit him another six, so this week it was Newton letting the team down.

Up Next: at Cleveland Browns (4-7-1)

Atlanta Falcons (4-8)

The Falcons dropped into sole possession of last place in the division on Sunday with a 26-16 home loss to the Ravens. They kept things close in the first half, entering the break in a 10-10 tie. However, Baltimore went on a run from there. Justin Tucker hit three field goals to put Atlanta down 19-10 before Tavon Young recovered a fumble and returned it 12 yards for a score to make it 26-10. Matt Ryan threw a touchdown to Austin Hooper with 4:18 left, but a comeback wasn’t in the cards.

Ryan only threw for 131 yards and a touchdown on 16-of-26 passing. The Baltimore defense got after him all day long, sacking him three times and hitting him eight times. Atlanta couldn’t get the run game going, with Ito Smith carrying the ball seven times for 22 yards. Tevin Coleman went for just eight yards on six carries. Deion Jones was the player of the game for the Falcons, coming up with 15 tackles (13 solo) and a sack.

Up Next: at Green Bay Packers (4-7-1)