3 reasons why the Atlanta Falcons could win the NFC South

Who will win the NFC South?

By: Jeremy Trottier

Well, this season has been interesting, to say the least.  The NFC is completely at a loss outside the NFC East (weird, I know).  On top of that, the teams we expected to be elite, or at least were in the past (Tampa Bay, Green Bay, Los Angeles Rams) are really struggling to open the year.  However, at the top of the NFC South, lo and behold, the Atlanta Falcons.  A team everyone thought would be riding the bottom of the barrel entering the season finds themselves a playoff spot, at least as of this second.  So, here are 3 reasons why they could win the NFC South. 

The divisional competition is fading fast

Tampa Bay and Tom Brady?  On a 3-game losing streak and below .500.  New Orleans?  3-5 and struggling against lesser teams, and with injuries.  Carolina?  I mean PJ Walker looks good apparently but they are committing to tanking by trading Christian McCaffrey.  This division is as wide open as it has ever been, and this is good news for Atlanta as they can really take advantage of it.  They narrowly lost to New Orleans by 1, lost to Tampa by less than a touchdown as well, and really have played solid against better teams. 

The remaining schedule only gets easier

Ok, the Chargers this week are still a tough matchup but have really not lived up to expectations yet.  Then you have Carolina (bad), Chicago (bad), Washington (not bad but winnable), Pittsburgh (below average) the Saints again (division game so winnable), Baltimore and Arizona (both tough opponents, be able to prove your worth), and then Tampa who you narrowly lost to already.  There’s a giant stretch of schedule here where Atlanta could realistically come out 7-5 or higher entering their game against Baltimore. 

Marcus Mariota is playing well enough to compete

Now, is Mariota playing at like a pro bowl level?  No.  But with 1,432 yards, a 62.9% completion rate, 10 passing touchdowns + another 3 on the ground to 6 interceptions, and a 92.7 quarterback efficiency rating/61.5 QBR, he has been solid.  He is not necessarily a player you are going to be winning games because of, like Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes, but rather a QB you can win games with, like Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo.  If the playmakers continue to play well, Mariota can lead this team to the NFC South title by season’s end. 

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