Final Word: NFC South

September, 21, 2012
9/21/12
1:30
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 3:

[+] EnlargeSaints
Chris Graythen/Getty ImagesThe Saints are off to their worst start since 2007, when they lost four games to begin the season.
Playing the percentages: The odds already are in favor of the Atlanta Falcons making the playoffs and against the New Orleans Saints not reaching the postseason. The Falcons have a chance to start 3-0. Since 1990, 75.7 percent of the teams to start 3-0 have gone to the playoffs. If the Saints lose to Kansas City, they’ll be 0-3. In the same time span, only 2.7 percent of the teams to start 0-3 have reached the postseason.

Saints predictable: In recent years, there’s been a lot of talk about how unpredictable the New Orleans offense was. That might have changed this year and defenses might have an idea what’s coming, just by looking at who’s in the backfield. According to ESPN Stats & Information, running back Darren Sproles doesn’t have a rushing attempt this season. The Saints have passed on 74 of the 77 plays Sproles has been on the field. On the flip side, the Saints have passed on only six of the 29 plays Mark Ingram has been on the field.

Romo’s domination: Dallas’ Tony Romo has played better against the Buccaneers than perhaps any other opponent. In his three career games against Tampa Bay, Romo has thrown for 11 touchdowns with no interceptions while completing 70.9 percent of his passes. Dallas has won all three of those games.

Ugly streaks: The Bucs have lost eight straight road games, tying them for the second-longest active streak in the league (the Colts lead with nine straight road losses). The Bucs also have lost their last eight non-division games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

Perception changing: There’s a perception that Atlanta’s Matt Ryan struggles on the road, particularly in outdoor games. There might have been some truth to that earlier in Ryan’s career, but things are changing. Including the postseason, Ryan has not thrown an interception in any of his last four road games. In his last three regular-season road games, Ryan is 2-1 with eight touchdown passes, no interceptions and a 65.3 completion percentage.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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