NFC South Notebook: Panthers & Buccaneers to meet again in London during Week 6
It's been another rough week for the Atlanta Falcons. While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost, they fell to the New Orleans Saints, who improved to 4-1 in Week 5. Carolina also won behind another tremendous performance from Christian McCaffrey, so the Falcons are now two games out of second place.
Of course, no team can gain ground on any opponent unless it wins. The Falcons have a winnable game this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, but Arizona probably feels the same way about the Falcons. Both teams enter Week 6 with one win.
The Giants and Patriots began Week 6 with Thursday Night Football, but the NFC South will kick off Sunday's action in London at 9:30 AM ET. I know there's a lot of fans out there that dislike the London series. One criticism of the series I have is the NFL really hasn't figured out how to properly fit a trip across the Atlantic into a team's schedule.
This year, the Raiders and Buccaneers each had two road games prior to their trips to London. In Tampa Bay's case, two weeks prior to its London trip, the team flew to the west coast to face the Rams. By the way, both Oakland and Tampa Bay lost a home game to playing in London. If the London series is going to survive, it can't put a select few teams at such a disadvantage.
However, I do love the idea of 9:30 AM football. Maybe I'd feel differently if it were the Falcons playing at that time, but the more live football to watch, the better in my mind. Watching a game that has implications for the Falcons, assuming they get back into the wild card race, on Sunday morning will be even more fun.
Atlanta will be rooting for Tampa Bay to beat the Panthers a second time this season. Then the Falcons can move to within a game of second place with a victory Sunday evening.
Sandwiched in between the morning affair and the Falcons-Cardinals showdown at 4:05 pm ET, the Saints will visit the Jacksonville Jaguars. New Orleans has won three straight with Teddy Bridgewater behind center while the Jaguars snapped their two-game winning streak after losing to Carolina last week.
Bridgewater should have a little more trouble throwing against the Jaguars defense than he did against the Buccaneers last week, but the Saints are playing well in all three phases right now. As painful as it is to admit, Sean Payton has done a terrific job of not only keeping the Saints afloat, but they haven't lost a game without Drew Brees the last three weeks.