NFC South Notebook: Saints open early division lead behind last-second win

Dave Holcomb

We’re pleased to announce at Falcon Maven we have a new video series coming out called the NFC South Notebook. Each Tuesday, we’ll take a look at what else happened around the Falcons’ division outside of Atlanta.

The New Orleans Saints were 37 seconds away from what would have been a pretty crushing loss -- as far as Week 1 goes -- but Drew Brees did what Hall of Fame quarterbacks do. He drove the Saints onto the edge of field-goal position, and Wil Lutz nailed a 58-yard kick at the buzzer to win, beating the Houston Texans, 30-28.

The officials couldn’t avoid more controversy in the Superdome on Monday night, but this time, the Saints overcame that adversity and took an early NFC South lead. No other team in the division won in Week 1.

Similar to the Falcons, the Panthers and Buccaneers made a ton of mistakes in their opening games. Differing from Atlanta, though, Carolina and Tampa Bay were somewhat able to overcome their blunders and stay competitive, but the Panthers lost to the Rams and the Buccaneers fell to the 49ers. Both NFC South teams lost at home.

It won’t stay like this the entire 2019 season, but essentially, the NFC South kept its status quo from last year in Week 1. The Saints are now 7-2 in their last nine one-possession games dating back to last year’s Week 2. The Buccaneers turned the ball over four times with Jameis Winston throwing two pick-six’s. Tampa Bay also committed eight penalties and were 1-for-4 scoring touchdowns in the red zone.

The Panthers have potential, especially with a more accurate and healthy Cam Newton, but the 2015 MVP averaged just 6.3 yards per pass and threw an interception with zero touchdowns.

Falcons fans will receive their first really good look at Carolina and Tampa Bay on Thursday Night Football during Week 2. It’s too early to draw any firm conclusions, but it appears the Saints, as everyone expected, will be Atlanta’s biggest competition in the NFC South.