Around the NFC South: Week 1
The NFC South was one of the most heavily criticized divisions heading into the 2023 NFL season. Most people picked the Atlanta Falcons to win the division and their analysis usually included something like “they are the best team in a really bad division.” Well, the teams in the NFC South appeared to take that personally in week one. They won both of their non-divisional matchups on Sunday.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulled off the biggest upset of the weekend beating the Minnesota Vikings 20-17 on the road. Baker Mayfield had a solid game going 21 of 34 for 173 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Tampa Bay defense was the real star of the game. They forced Kirk Cousins to turn the ball over three times – two fumbles and one interception. The Buccaneers face the Chicago Bears at home in week two.
In the only divisional matchup of the weekend for NFC South teams, the Falcons knocked off the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Atlanta. Rookie Bijan Robinson had a nice NFL debut with 83 total yards and a receiving touchdown. His teammate and fellow running back Travis Allgeier added two rushing touchdowns. Falcons’ head coach Arthur Smith loves to center his offense around the run game. He was able to do that in this one. First overall pick Bryce Young finished the day 20 of 38 for 146 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. The Falcons play the Green Bay Packers at home next week while the Panthers travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints.
Speaking of the Saints, they won a slugfest at home against the Tennessee Titans in week. The Saints scored the only touchdown of the day when Derek Carr found Rashid Shaheed in the end zone for the 19-yard score. Carr threw for 305 yards in his Saints’ debut.
NFC South Standings