Let's take a run through the top headlines from around the division:
Jeff Schultz writes that it generally takes a great coach and a great quarterback to win a Super Bowl, and he then ranks the top coach-quarterback combinations. He has Atlanta’s Mike Smith and Matt Ryan at No. 6. I could see the ranking higher if they can win a couple of playoff games.
Joseph Person points out that the Panthers could finish in second place in the NFC South if they win against New Orleans on Sunday. That’s kind of hard to believe, because the Panthers spent so much of the season in fourth place.
For the first time since 2007, the Panthers didn’t have a player selected to the Pro Bowl. Defensive end Charles Johnson and linebacker Luke Kuechly were the guys with the best cases, but they came up short in the voting.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Bradley Handwerger writes that the reason Drew Brees didn’t make the Pro Bowl might be a product of his past success. Brees still is putting up big numbers, but he leads the league in interceptions. He clearly hasn’t been as efficient this season as he’s been in the past, and the Saints haven’t won a lot of games. Brees still is an excellent quarterback, but he wasn’t quite as good as he’s been in recent seasons.
Linebacker Scott Shanle realizes he might not have a future with the Saints. He’s been a game-day inactive much of this season. Shanle had a nice run in New Orleans, but his age caught up to him. If he wants to continue playing, he probably needs to go elsewhere.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
After being selected to his first Pro Bowl, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said this is just the beginning of what he plans to do. For the first time in his career, McCoy won’t be heading into an offseason with an injury to rehabilitate. He’ll be able to focus totally on football, and that could make him even better.