NFL Nation: 2013 NFL Midseason Report NFC South

Midseason Report: New Orleans Saints

November, 6, 2013
11/06/13
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If you're only as good as your last performance, the New Orleans Saints (6-2) are in trouble. They had their sloppiest game of the season in a 26-20 road loss to the New York Jets this past Sunday, with breakdowns on offense, defense and special teams.

Overall, however, there were many more positives than negatives during the first half of the season for New Orleans, which still leads the NFC South by a game over the Carolina Panthers.

If the Saints have any hopes of returning to New York for the Super Bowl in February, they need to prove that their first trip was an anomaly. But the schedule doesn't get any easier in the second half of the season -- including two more outdoor games, at Seattle and Carolina in December.

Midseason Report: Atlanta Falcons

November, 6, 2013
11/06/13
9:00
AM ET

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith has talked about his team's lack of consistency the entire season. Many would say the 2-6 Falcons have been consistently bad.

After last year's 13-3 finish and trip to the NFC Championship Game, most expected the Falcons to coast to a No. 1 seed and possibly contend for the Super Bowl this year. Unfortunately, things haven't gone according to plan for Smith, quarterback Matt Ryan and the rest of the crew.

Injuries, of course, have left the Falcons thin at several key positions. Smith, however, refuses to use that as a crutch.

"There are injuries all across the league," Smith said. "There are teams that have more guys on IR than others, and they've been successful. That's why, from the very beginning, you can't use injuries as an excuse. … There are no excuses. We've got to go out and play every week."

The Falcons simply have to play better in the second half. Here is a midseason review of the Falcons, grading the team, position by position:

Midseason Report: Carolina Panthers

November, 6, 2013
11/06/13
9:00
AM ET

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Few teams in the NFL are hotter than the Carolina Panthers, who closed out the first half of the season with four straight wins and five in six games.

But you can't dismiss the 1-3 start and a combined 8-33 record by their opponents. You also can't dismiss that the Panthers (5-3) have soundly defeated these opponents by an average score of 33.6 to 9.6, and that, if the regular season ended today, they would be in the playoffs as the No. 6 seed.

So, despite the current streak, the overall record is a B-minus. Here are the midseason grades by position:


TAMPA, Fla. -- When the season started, there was some talk that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could contend for a playoff spot.

After all, they added all-world cornerback Darrelle Revis and Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson in the offseason. The Bucs were the first ones to point to the fact they had eight guys on their roster who have been to Pro Bowls.

But, as it turns out, none of that’s mattered. The Bucs are 0-8 and their midseason grades are as dismal as their record:

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