Final Word: NFC South

November, 11, 2011
11/11/11
1:30
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 10:

Saints like the Georgia Dome: Much has been made of how well the Falcons have played in the Georgia Dome since the arrival of coach Mike Smith in 2008. That’s understandable, because the Falcons are 22-5 at home. But the Saints have shown they can win in Atlanta. They’ve won in the Georgia Dome each of the past two seasons. The last time the Falcons won three straight on the road against Atlanta was from 1991 to 1994, when the Saints won four straight.

[+] EnlargeDrew Brees
Fernando Medina/US PresswireTurnovers have been an issue for Drew Brees and the Saints on the road this season.
Turnovers matter: Then again, the road hasn’t been kind to the Saints this season. All three of their losses have come on the road, and they’re 4-0 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints have won by an average of 22.5 points in their home games. Their point differential on the road is -1.6. Their biggest road problem has been turnovers. They’re +1 in turnover margin at home, but -7 on the road.

Defense on the rise: There have been recent signs that Atlanta’s defense is starting to reach its potential. In the past two games, the Falcons have allowed opponents to convert third downs into first downs just 19.2 percent of the time. That’s the best percentage in the league since Week 7. In the first six weeks of the season, the Falcons were ranked last in the league in that category at 49.4 percent.

Red-zone woes: Tampa Bay’s biggest offensive problems have been in the red zone. The Bucs have the league’s worst red-zone touchdown percentage (37.2). They also are tied for No. 20 in goal-to-go touchdown percentage.

Strength vs. strength: Carolina’s Cam Newton has completed a league-high 24 passes of 21 or more yards downfield. But it might not be so easy to get the ball downfield against Tennessee. The Titans have allowed a league-low of five completions of 21 yards or more.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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