NFC South observations at the half

ATLANTA – I’m watching the other tree NFC South game as I get ready to cover Sunday night’s game between the Falcons and Eagles, and we’ve got some very interesting stuff going on.

Here are some quick observations on the other games as they went to halftime.

  • There’s a potential upset brewing in Carolina. The Panthers have a 13-7 lead on the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. Rookie quarterback Cam Newton is showing he’s not a one-game wonder. In some ways, Newton has looked even better than he did in his debut. Also, Carolina’s defense had a great first half, even with middle linebacker Jon Beason out for the rest of the season.

  • Tampa Bay has gotten running back LeGarrette Blount involved early, but the offense is still struggling. Tampa Bay has only three first downs and the defense is spending way too much time on the field. That’s the same thing that happened in the opener, and Tampa Bay’s defense isn’t one you want on the field all day against Adrian Peterson. I’m shocked at how poorly Tampa Bay’s offense as played this season. I thought the offense would be the strength of this team. If the Bucs don’t get this offense on track quickly, this season is going to get out of control in a hurry.

  • The Saints are in a tight game with the Bears. The thing I’m most impressed with his how well the Saints are moving the ball with top receiver Marques Colston out with an injury. Drew Brees continues to do a great job of spreading the ball around and Devery Henderson stepped up with a big touchdown catch. Running back Darren Sproles continues to impress as an all-around player. New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been bringing the blitz a lot. It hasn’t resulted in any big plays for the Saints yet, but you can almost feel that coming. One discouraging sight for the Saints came right before the end of the first half. Middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma left for the locker room with an unspecified injury.