NFC South standings: Saints take a tumble after Week 2

·4 min read

The haves are beginning to separate from the have-nots with most of Week 2’s NFL games in the books, but it isn’t clear just where the New Orleans Saints could fall. But what we do know is how the Saints stack up against their peers in the NFC South — at least at this early juncture. As the season marches on and each team puts more plays on tape, we’ll get a better idea about the hierarchy. For now, here’s your updated standings for the division going into Week 3:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)

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Point differential: +25 Stat of the week: Tampa Bay played with their food a bit, allowing Atlanta to get back into the game with a 15-point third quarter effort. Then backup safety Mike Edwards intercepted two passes and returned both of them for touchdowns to secure a 48-25 victory. It must be nice to enjoy the benefits of surrounding your quarterback with weapons. Tom Brady leads the NFL with 9 touchdown passes, connecting often with Rob Gronkowski (4) while sending scoring throws to Mike Evans (2), Chris Godwin (2), and Antonio Brown (1). The Buccaneers have the personnel to win one-on-one matchups without relying on schematic mismatches. As for next week: Brady is set to play his first-ever down of professional football in Los Angeles. Let's hope he says hi to Aaron Donald for us. Up next: at Los Angeles Rams (2-0)

Carolina Panthers (2-0)

[sendtonews_embed video_id="ZBE36QA662-1518173-7498"> Point differential: +24 Stat of the week: The Panthers defense pressured Saints quarterback Jameis Winston on 64% of his dropbacks in Week 2, per ESPN Stats and Info, sacking him four times and creating a pair of interceptions. Okay, so maybe Carolina is legit. They've got a strong edge presence between Brian Burns and Haason Reddick and their investments at cornerback are paying off; Jaycee Horn was as impressive as advertised. This young defense is going to continue improving with more reps and could be troublesome in the years ahead. Still, Sam Darnold had enough off-target throws (and Panthers coach Matt Rhule made enough bad decisions on fourth down) that a better-prepared team than Sunday's version of Saints could seize on. Up next: at Houston Texans (1-1)

New Orleans Saints (1-1)

[sendtonews_embed video_id="vghzdWjw4t-1518300-7498"> Point differential: +16 Stat of the week: First-round draft pick Payton Turner accounted for 3 of the Saints' 7 tackles for loss and 4 of their 9 pressures as a team in his rookie debut. Well the Saints got a taste of their own medicine, with their offensive line breaking down while their receivers struggled to get open to compensate for it. At least the defense recovered from some early miscues to limit Carolina to just nine points in the second half. This was pretty much a worst-case scenario for the Saints, where they were missing key veterans at multiple positions as well as a third of the coaching staff. There were just too many fires for Sean Payton to put out on his own. Up next: at New England Patriots (1-1)

Atlanta Falcons (0-2)

[sendtonews_embed video_id="zU3VsWDa4k-1518431-7498"> Point differential: -49 Stat of the week: Matt Ryan surpassed Drew Brees to post the highest passing yards through a player's first 14 years in the NFL. At this point in Brees' career, he accomplished a 117-86 record (.576) and won a Super Bowl. As for Ryan, he's gone 113-94 (.545) and lost Super Bowl LI after building a 25-point lead. The Falcons are really, really bad y'all. Their offense ranks 24th in both passing yards and rushing yards, and 29th in points scored. Rookie first round pick Kyle Pitts only has 9 catches for 104 yards through two games. Their defense is allowing 4.9 yards per carry and has surrendered 8 touchdown passes in just two games. Miserable as the Saints looked on Sunday, it could always be worse. Up next: at New York Giants (0-2)

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