Bill Streicher - USA TODAY Sports

NFC South Roundup: Week 11

Mark Menard
November 17, 2018 - 3:56 pm

As Thanksgiving approaches, so does the home-stretch of the NFL season, and while all four NFC South teams remain at least somewhat in play for a postseason berth, positive momentum will need to be attained and maintained in the next couple of weeks, especially for Atlanta and Tampa, who look to be slipping out of the playoff picture.

ATLANTA (4-5) vs. DALLAS (4-5)

It could be a de facto elimination game in Atlanta as the 4-5 Falcons host the 4-5 Cowboys. Dallas is coming off of a crucial Sunday night win over the Eagles that can be the catalyst that rights their meandering season if they capitalize by reeling off a few more wins. The Falcons last week saw their three-game winning streak snapped just as they had battled back to .500 on the season, getting dropped on the road by the Browns in a humbling loss. For Atlanta, it's beginning to look like a wild card spot is their only way back to the postseason, so a win over the Cowboys could prove an important tiebreaker at season's end.

CAROLINA (6-3) vs. DETROIT (3-6)

The Carolina Panthers should have an easier go of it in Week 11 than they had in Week 10. Last Thursday night they got demolished in Pittsburgh, blown out by the Steelers in a demoralizing defeat that, much like Atlanta, halted a three-game winning streak. Still, the Panthers are in good shape on the year at 6-3 overall. This week, they head to Motown where the Lions are struggling through the season.  The Lions have lost their last three to drop from a respectable 3-3 to 3-6, putting their season on life-support ahead of a tough three-game homestand. The Lions host the North-leading Bears and the NFC-leading Rams after their visit from Carolina, so they're entering desperation mode, but they shouldn't be taken lightly as their offense can still put up points.

NY GIANTS (2-7) vs. TAMPA BAY (3-6)

And in a game only their mothers will watch, the 2-7 New York Giants host the 3-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The move back to Ryan Fitzpatrick has failed to recapture the early-season Fitzmagic, and the Bucs' 2-0 start might as well be a tale told in ancient scrolls at this point. The Giants are coming off of just their second win of the season, but could embark on a two-game winning streak for the first time in almost two years. So that's something I guess.

All three of those matchups kick off at noon on Sunday.


That leaves the division-leading Saints. They're set to tangle with the world champion Eagles, who don't look nearly as "super" as they did  a year ago. While the Saints' win-streak has stretched to eight games, Philadelphia comes in at 4-5 and in danger of missing the playoffs altogether just one year after winning it all. Still, while injuries have depleted their roster, they still feature one of the NFL's best defensive lines, a playmaking tight end in Zach Ertz, and wunderkind quarterback Carson Wentz. New Orleans will need to start fast, as they have the past two Sundays. They've scored 35 first-half points in each of their last two outings, a big reason they blew past the Rams and Bengals for their two most recent victories. The Saints gained a bit of separation in the South last week when all of their rivals lost, but they still have work to do to keep pace with the conference-leading Rams, who they continue to trail by a half-game. However, New Orleans could be on the cusp of taking the conference lead with two games in the next five days.

Saints-Eagles kicks off at 3:25 Sunday on WWL. Our coverage starts at 11am.

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