- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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It’s time for our weekly look at the ESPN NFL Expert Picks.
Each week, a 14-member panel predicts all the NFL games. This week, that panel is giving two NFC South teams absolutely no shot to win.
The vote is unanimous on the Atlanta Falcons over the Carolina Panthers, which isn’t a huge surprise. The Falcons are 3-0 and playing at home and the Panthers are coming off an ugly loss to the Giants. But that was a Thursday night game, so the Panthers have had a few extra days to prepare and the Falcons just made a West Coast trip (to San Diego) after playing a Monday night game. The Falcons obviously are the favorites, but I wouldn’t be totally surprised if the Panthers pulled off an upset.
The panel also is unanimous in picking Green Bay over New Orleans. I get the logic on that -- the Saints are struggling and the Packers are at home and probably will looking to work out a little frustration after their controversial loss to Seattle on Monday night. But, again, I wouldn’t be totally surprised if the Saints somehow pull this one out. This could be a “last-stand’’ game for the Saints, who would fall to 0-4 if they lose.
The only game involving an NFC South team that the panel has any debate on is Washington at Tampa Bay. The split is straight down the middle with seven picks for the Bucs and seven for the Redskins. Sounds about right because no one is certain what these two teams are all about yet.
I like what I’ve seen out of Tampa Bay’s defense. If the Bucs can just put together some sort of rhythm on offense, they could be a .500 team by Sunday evening.