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NFL: Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NFC South Roundup Week 6: Buccaneers back on top

With a big victory and a New Orleans bye week, Tampa Bay is once again alone at the top of the NFC South standings.

After faltering in Week 5 and having the Saints and Panthers join them at 3-2 through five games of the 2020 season, the Buccaneers picked up a blowout win in Week 6 to improve to 4-2 and regain sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

Tampa Bay beat the Green Bay Packers 38-10 on Sunday afternoon, getting back on track after what was an ugly loss to Chicago just 10 days earlier. Just about everything seemed to click after the team fell behind 10-0 after one quarter, with the defense making life miserable for Aaron Rodgers all day and the offense taking advantage of some key momentum swings to grab a lead that it wouldn’t relinquish. Now, atop the NFC South once again, the Bucs will enter a stretch of three straight primetime games, starting with a Sunday Night Football matchup in Las Vegas against the Raiders.

But before we close the book on Week 6, it’s time to check in on the rest of the division, as we do every Wednesday. Let’s get into it.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints (3-2)

Following their 30-27 overtime win over the Chargers in Week 5, the Saints were off this week. Because they were idle and the Bucs won, they fell into second place in the NFC South, though they’re only one-half game behind the top spot.

Up Next: vs. Carolina Panthers (3-3)

Chicago Bears v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Carolina Panthers (3-3)

The Panthers’ hot streak came to an end on Sunday, as they lost 23-16 at home to the Bears. Chicago took an early 7-0 lead, with Nick Foles finding Cole Kmet for a nine-yard touchdown less than four minutes into the game. The Carolina offense didn’t offer much in response, which led to the visitors holding a 20-6 lead with one quarter to play. A Mike Davis touchdown run with 13:11 to go in the final quarter got the Panthers within 20-13, but a Cairo Santos field goal made it a two-possession game again with 9:19 left. A Joey Slye field goal eventually cut it back to a seven-point game, but Matt Rhule’s team couldn’t come all the way back. That brought an end to Carolina’s three-game winning streak, despite the fact that it outgained Chicago 303-261. The difference was in the turnover battle, which the Bears won 3-1.

It wasn’t a great day for Teddy Bridgewater, as he completed 16 of his 29 pass attempts for 216 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. Davis, who has done a fantastic job stepping in for an injured Christian McCaffrey in recent weeks, wasn’t as effective this week. He ran for just 52 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries (2.9 yards per carry) and caught only two passes for three yards. DJ Moore finished as the Panthers’ leading receiver, catching five passes for 93 yards (18.6 yards per catch). Rookie Jeremy Chinn came up with his first career interception in the game, though the Carolina pass rush struggled to finish, as it registering zero sacks despite totaling nine quarterback hits.

Up Next: at New Orleans Saints (3-2)

Atlanta Falcons v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

In their first game since the firings of head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the Falcons picked up their first victory of the season. Under the direction of former Bucs head coach Raheem Morris, Atlanta scored the game’s first 23 points on its way to a 40-23 win in Minnesota against the Vikings. Two Matt Ryan touchdown passes and three Younghoe Koo field goals built that lead, which proved to be big enough despite the Minnesota offense finding itself a bit late. After the home team cut it to 23-7, the Falcons responded by going up 30-7. Then, when it was cut to 33-15 late in the game, Atlanta scored again. It was a good bit of finishing from a team who has become known for its blown leads. The Falcons outgained the Vikings 462-365 and won the turnover battle 3-1 to pick up their first victory of 2020.

Ryan was fantastic for Atlanta, completing 30 of his 40 passes for 371 yards and four touchdowns. He threw those four touchdowns to three different receivers, finding Julio Jones for two, while Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst caught one each. Jones had a massive day, hauling in eight passes for 137 yards and those two scores. Ridley added six catches for 61 yards and his score, while Russell Gage finished as the second-leading receiver with 65 yards on four receptions. Deion Jones, Foyesade Oluokun and A.J. Terrell all came up with interceptions for Atlanta in what was ultimately a pretty good day for the unit as a whole. The defense totaled a sack, six tackles for loss, seven passes defended and eight quarterback hits in the win.

Up Next: vs. Detroit Lions (2-3)

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