NFC South stock watch

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

As we wait for tonight's game between the Packers and Saints, it's time to look at who's stock is rising and falling in the NFC South this week.


  • Mike Smith. It's hard to believe the Atlanta coach's stock could go any higher, but it has. Smith's decision (and there was absolutely no hesitation) to go for it on fourth-and-goal in the fourth quarter resulted in a touchdown. It also resulted in more than that. Smith showed his offense he has complete confidence in it.

  • Ronde Barber. There were rumblings earlier in the year that the Tampa Bay cornerback was washed up. He sure didn't look like it Sunday with two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown.

  • Chauncey Davis. The Atlanta backup defensive end had two sacks against the Panthers.

  • Cadillac Williams. The Tampa Bay running back played for the first time in more than a year. He didn't do anything spectacular, but the mere fact he came back so quickly from a torn patellar tendon was very impressive.

  • Todd Weiner. Call him a journeyman or whatever you want. I'll just call him a solid pro. He matched up with Julius Peppers most of the day and Peppers didn't do much of anything.

  • Josh Bidwell. Very quietly, the Tampa Bay punter is having a Pro Bowl season. He averaged 51 yards on four punts Sunday.


  • Carolina's defense. If you want to be considered among the best defenses in the league, you can't give up 45 points to anybody.

  • Atlanta defensive end Jamaal Anderson. The coaching staff has been very patient with this guy. But that patience has got to be wearing thin. With the Panthers trying to play catch-up most of the game, there were opportunities for Anderson to do something. Did you see him do anything?

  • D.J. Hackett. Remember when the Panthers signed him in free agency and some fans thought he'd be the starter opposite Steve Smith? Well, this one's not working out as imagined. Hackett was inactive Sunday. The Panthers would have been just as well off keeping Keary Colbert or Drew Carter, who had mastered the art of underachieving the last couple of years.