Carolina Panthers stand alone atop NFC South, Atlanta Falcons fall to second


After another week on twists and turns in the NFC South, it is the Carolina Panthers sitting alone at the top. This is by virtue of an impressive road victory over the Seattle Seahawks. The Atlanta Falcons, however, stumbled to its first loss of the season.

Falcons stumble to first loss: It was a rough night in New Orleans for Dan Quinn and his team, who were beaten under the bright lights of Thursday Night Football by the rival Saints. It was a game to forget for Atlanta, who constantly beat themselves with poor mistakes.

Any time you fumble five times, give up a blocked punt touchdown and drop the football as often as Atlanta did, it’s going to be tough to win. And Drew Brees was in no mood to let the Falcons off the hook. He was flawless, going 30-of-39 for 312 yards and a touchdown.

It was just one of those games; every team has them. The Atlanta Falcons are still in a very strong position at 5-1. If you would have said the Falcons would be three games ahead of the Seahawks after six weeks, we would all have taken it.

Oct 18, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cm Newton (1) reacts to a play against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina shows grit, beats 12th man: Will the Panthers get the respect they deserve now? I had my doubts before the season started after the loss of Kelvin Benjamin, but this team keeps proving people wrong and it’s largely down to Cam Newton.

In “The Final Word” last week, I wrote that the Panthers were capable of getting it done in Seattle:

"Seattle is 2-3 and is yet to hit its stride, particularly on offense. Carolina’s No. 3 ranked defense should have no trouble disrupting a poor offensive line with a struggling run game. Can Cam get it done on offense? He could just pull off the upset."

And he did just that.

These Panthers deserve a ton of respect. Going 5-0 isn’t easy, particularly when the road goes through CenturyLink Field. Newton—despite a lack of firepower on offense—marched his team down the field on one of the most impressive game-winning drives of the season.

Carolina is red hot, and kicked off the toughest stretch of its schedule with a bold victory.

Looking ahead: The NFC South is a two-horse race at this point. The Panthers lead the way at 5-0 with the Falcons close behind at 5-1.

Atlanta hits the road again to take on the Tennessee Titans, while Carolina hosts the Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams will feel confident about their chances, and the drama for the NFC South crown is beginning to heat up.

Next: Atlanta Falcons fantasy outlook entering Week 7

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