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Friday, November 18, 2011
Around the NFC South

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Time for a look at Friday morning's top headlines from around the NFC South.

The Atlanta Falcons have gone nearly a full calendar year without allowing a running back to put up a 100-yard rushing game against them. The streak is at 13 games, including a playoff loss to Green Bay. But they face a challenge this week when Tennessee’s Chris Johnson comes to town. Johnson got off to a slow start this season, but he put up 130 yards last Sunday against Carolina.

Some opponents have said the Detroit Lions play “dirty." At the very least they’re a very aggressive bunch and that’s going to be a challenge for the Panthers. Carolina ranks second in the league in penalties, and the Panthers don’t have much margin for error. They'll need to resist any urge to cross the line if things start getting testy.

Tampa Bay’s Geno Hayes is expected to return to the starting lineup at weakside linebacker after being benched the past two games. Hayes, playing in a reserve role, got back into the good graces of the coaching staff by being one of the few players who did some good things in last Sunday’s loss to Tennessee.

New Orleans is on a bye, so that gave quarterback Drew Brees a chance to visit with Jay Leno on Thursday night. Here’s the first part of the interview. And here’s the second part.