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Tuesday, January 3, 2012
NFC South evening update

By Pat Yasinskas

It’s been a fairly quiet day in the NFC South, because the season is over for the Buccaneers and Panthers, and the Saints and Falcons are just beginning their preparations for their playoff games this weekend. I’ve spent a good chunk of this afternoon working on regular-season wrap-ups for all four NFC South teams that will run on Wednesday.

But there are a few items of interest from around the division, so let’s take a look.

The Saints long ago stopped dwelling on last season’s playoff loss to Seattle. But the players are recalling that experience a bit this week. That’s a good motivational tool and a reminder that you can’t overlook any opponent.

Carolina veteran tackle Jordan Gross predicted the Panthers will win a Super Bowl with coach Ron Rivera. Gross isn’t prone to making outrageous statements, so this is a sign Rivera really must have the locker room buying into his system.

We already told you the Buccaneers are setting up an interview with Mike Sherman for their coaching vacancy. Tennessee defensive coordinator Jerry Gray also reportedly is a candidate for the Tampa Bay job.

D. Orlando Ledbetter takes a look at the matchups between the Falcons’ offensive line and the Giants’ defensive line. That’s a good place to start analyzing Sunday’s playoff game, because Atlanta’s offensive line struggled early in the year before showing some improvement. The pass rush is the strength of the Giants’ defense. New York had 48 sacks during the regular season.