Time for a quick run through some odds and ends from all around the division:
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
In this Insider post, Vince Verhei takes a look at how the Bucs have put themselves in the playoff picture. Along with some positives, he points to what has been an easy schedule. There’s no doubt about that. Looking ahead, Verhei says the upcoming schedule will be tougher and the Bucs will have a hard time making the playoffs. That may be true, but I continue to see improvement from the Bucs and maybe they might be able to surprise some people and win against some of the tough teams on their schedule.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
In his weekly film study, Mike Triplett writes that the Saints’ goal-line stand was a collection of several big plays. I totally agree with that, but I think it’s worth noting this might be the first time all season a story that praises the New Orleans defense has been written.
Mark Simon, of ESPN Stats & Information, has selected Thomas Morstead as Punter of the Week for Week 10. Agaist the Falcons, Morstead posted a 48.2-yard net average. His 55-yard punt (coupled with an Atlanta penalty) with under a minute to play, gave the Falcons some tough field position. This is the second time this season Morstead has won the award. He also won in Week 5.
Scott Fowler writes that it sounds like the Panthers are ready to give rookie Joe Adams another chance as the return man. Adams opened the season in that role, but lost it after having problems with fumbles. The Panthers haven’t gotten much out of their return game in the meantime. They might as well give Adams another shot. He has some explosiveness and coach Ron Rivera -- or whoever is running this team next season -- needs to find out if Adams can play in the NFL.
Several players scoffed at the suggestion that losing to New Orleans might have been a good thing because it eases the pressure that grows every week when you stay undefeated. That’s the attitude you want from your players. But the reality is the loss might be a blessing in disguise because the Falcons no longer will have to deal with all the attention and potential distractions that come with being undefeated.
Speaking of the Falcons and their loss, Daniel Cox throws out a very good and relevant stat. Since the arrival of coach Mike Smith, the Falcons are 18-3 after a loss.