What the hell happened to the NFC South. In recent years this division of the NFL has been a terror. It’s also been as competitive a division as you’d find anywhere in the NFL. The 2014 season is a marked departure.
1) In 2013 the NFC South put forth two of the best teams in the NFC. The Carolina Panthers won the division with a 12-4 record while New Orleans trailed at 11-5. Both made the playoffs with the Saints eventually falling in the conference round.
2) In 2012 it was the Atlanta Falcons who dominated, capturing the top seed in the NFC with a 13-3 record only to fall in the first game of the divisional playoffs.
3) The Saints and Falcons once again spent the 2011 NFL season at ends, with New Orleans capturing the top spot.
The most obvious thing to jump out here is the fact that for the last decade the teams in the NFC South have spent their time trading places at the top. No team in recent history has managed to win back to back NFC South Championships. Furthermore, at least two of the teams within the division have put up winning seasons. Playing each other has been tough also, as NFC South rivalries usually result in narrow victories.
The 2014 NFL season has NFC South fans shocked. Just past the mid-way point of the season not a single NFC South team has a winning record. The New Orleans Saints lead the division with a 4-5 mark at this moment, a record as unimpressive as their performance on the field. In fact, the Atlanta Falcons at 3-6 and the Carolina Panthers at 3-6-1 have to be considered contenders for the NFC South crown and their performance has been almost as abysmal as the Saints performance.
It’s a startling turnaround but here’s the bright side. Three of four teams are still in the hunt. Get to the playoffs and anything can happen. Just ask the New York Giants.Eric Drouant