Division rivalries are the core of NFL competition.
Those six games on any team’s schedule will be the most intense ones all season long.
The beef runs deep that there’s hate just because they play for the other team.
The NFC south is officially the wild wild west. I don't think we could have asked for a better Football season.
— Deus Flex Machina- flexyoursuccess.com (@ReturnOfTheFleX) November 15, 2021
Likewise, tightly-contested divisions give rise to meaningful games down the stretch.
With the way things are going, the NFC South is shaping up to be a photo finish.
NFC South standings going into Week 11:
— Bill Voth (@PanthersBill) November 15, 2021
All four teams have a realistic shot of making the playoffs by winning the division or as a Wild Card team.
The Buccaneers’ Division To Lose
Before the 2021 NFL season started, everyone expected this division fight to be a walk in the park for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After winning Super Bowl LV, Tampa Bay retained their roster full of Pro Bowlers, hoping to get another title.
They had the best odds to win because the other teams had some issues coming into their campaigns.
Could the New Orleans Saints’ quarterbacks fill the void that Drew Brees left after retiring?
“The stupidity has to go away,” Bruce Arians says after today’s loss. Said Bucs are a “very dumb” team and that’s a reflection of coaching.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) November 14, 2021
Would the Carolina Panthers be competitive with Christian McCaffrey as the focal point of their offense?
Do the Atlanta Falcons have enough talent to help Matt Ryan possibly make one last playoff run?
Not only did Taylor Heinicke lead Washington to a massive upset over Tampa Bay, he cashes in on a $125K incentive for playing at least 60% of a plays in a win 💰💰💰
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 14, 2021
It looked like the Buccaneers would march to the AFC South title after winning six of their first seven games.
Tom Brady continued to dazzle during that stretch by being one of the league leaders in passing yards and throwing his 600th touchdown pass.
Unfortunately, the Bucs have not been the same over the last two weeks.
Tom Brady’s entire media availability lasted 1 minute, 43 seconds. You can hear @gregauman ask him to stay longer. I asked if he could take us through how he was feeling. “I like to win,” he said. pic.twitter.com/DHXxvg021N
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) November 14, 2021
They lost to the Saints with Trevor Siemian on board, even if New Orleans had only 361 total yards.
But their woes continued with another defeat against the Washington Football Team.
Taylor Heinicke nearly defeated them last year and got his revenge in Week 10 via a 29-19 win.
Panthers And Saints At Striking Distance
Cam Newton may not be the best quarterback anymore, but he’s the best fit for the Carolina Panthers.
Aside from his familiarity with the players, he gives the team an identity that Sam Darnold cannot replace.
He was excellent in his brief stint against the Arizona Cardinals, even if he had limited mastery of the playbook.
HE'S BACK. pic.twitter.com/Hz4m2MbMpW
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) November 14, 2021
His addition helped unlock the enthusiasm to play again, which they lost during their losing streak.
On the other hand, the Saints are still in the mix even if they lost to the Tennessee Titans.
Sean Payton has always found a way to win, and they were close in doing so against Tennessee.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) November 14, 2021
Their quarterbacks need not be explosive as long as they maximize their possessions and put enough points on the board.
They have Alvin Kamara, who can change the game’s complexion and a defense that has become one of the NFL’s best.
Which Team Will Win The NFC South?
No offense to the Atlanta Falcons, but they look like the odd team out.
The NFC South title will come down to a three-way battle between the Buccaneers, the Saints, and the Panthers.
What’s intriguing is that they still have games left against each other.
NFC South would have 3 playoff teams right now despite the recent slump
— Sam (@Samiam3187) November 15, 2021
The Buccaneers and the Saints will meet in Week 15 while New Orleans and Carolina have a Week 17 clash.
The Panthers and Tampa Bay will face each other in Weeks 16 and 18.
Those matches will help shape up the race for the NFC South.
However, it won’t be surprising if it went down the wire.