Can the Falcons stay unbeaten? NFC South Week 3 preview


It’s early in the season, but it’s an important week for the NFC South. The Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers have a chance to improve to 3-0, and the New Orleans Saints need to win to save their season.

Atlanta and Carolina currently sit atop the division at 2-0, with Tampa Bay a game behind at 1-1 and New Orleans struggling at 0-2. This week, there is one game inside the division as the Saints hit the road to take on the Panthers. Here’s the Week 3 preview.

Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys: Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EST

Not many people expected the Atlanta Falcons to go 2-0 when the schedule was released back in April. The Falcons kicked off the season with a victory at home to the Eagles, and followed it up with a fourth-quarter comeback win over the Giants. Now it’s onto another NFC East team in the Dallas Cowboys, who will be without quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant.

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Bryant went down with a broken bone in his foot in their Week 1 win over the Giants, and Romo broke his collarbone in the Eagles win last week. It’s a nightmare scenario for Dallas, and they will be desperate to stay on track for another division title with a home win.

Can Matt Ryan lead the Falcons’ high-flying offense past one of the league’s strongest defensive units?

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers: Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EST

It’s make-or-break for the New Orleans Saints, who travel to Carolina in a bid to save their season. After starting 0-2 and 0-1 in the division after last week’s loss to Tampa Bay, they simply cannot afford to fall three games behind the Panthers.

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The Saints will have to do it the hard way, however, as quarterback Drew Brees has been ruled out with a shoulder injury. The defense has struggled through two games, and it’s tough to see them picking up a victory on the road.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Houston Texans: Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EST

After an impressive victory in New Orleans last week, the 1-1 Buccaneers take on the 0-2 Texans. Tampa Bay won’t have to deal with Arian Foster, who was ruled out as he continues to recover from a groin injury.

Mike Evans continues his return from a hamstring injury, and he will need to help out rookie Jamies Winston, who will have his hands full against the J.J. Watt-led defense. Watt is going to test the Buccaneers revamped offensive line and force the rookie quarterback into tough situations. Can the Buccaneers move to 2-1, or will the Texans earn their first victory of the season?