NFC South Week 14 predictions: Bucs try to pull even with Falcons for first

A pair of divisional video games are on the Week 14 slate. Atlanta can put distance between itself and arguably its hardest competitors for the division crown when it performs Tampa Bay, whereas Carolina could be getting New Orleans on the excellent time.

Listed below are our predictions for this weekend’s NFC South video games.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7) at Atlanta Falcons (6-6) | 1 p.m. ET

First place is on the road once more in Atlanta, solely this time, the Falcons are combating to increase their one-game division lead after snatching first place by beating the Saints in Week 12. Atlanta is banged up heading into the sport, with beginning nook A.J. Terrell in concussion protocol. The workforce can also be coping with accidents to nook Jeff Okudah, deal with Kaleb McGary and defensive lineman David Onyemata. 

Atlanta’s depth at cornerback, ought to Terrell and Okudah be unable to play, may very well be the sport’s deciding issue. Baker Mayfield will not be afraid to push the ball downfield with Mike Evans, who not too long ago grew to become the first wide receiver in NFL historical past with 10 1,000-yard seasons to start a profession, and Chris Godwin. We’re nonetheless not able to belief head coach Arthur Smith and quarterback Desmond Ridder totally, so give us the two-time defending division champ to make the clutch performs to tug right into a tie for first. 

PREDICTION: Bucs, 24-18

Carolina Panthers (1-11) at New Orleans Saints (5-7) | 1 p.m. ET

During the last month, the Saints went from being led by their protection to being hampered by it. Defensive-minded head coach Dennis Allen has overseen the decline of the unit, which has allowed a median of 163 rush yards and 25.6 factors per sport over its final 5 video games (2-3), together with its present three-game shedding streak.

Panthers operating again Chuba Hubbard is coming off one in every of his greatest video games as a professional in opposition to the Bucs when he had 25 carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns, ok to be a nominee for the FedEx Ground Player of the Week.

We like his matchup, in addition to the one for the Panthers’ defensive entrance seven.

Brian Burns and Derrick Brown ought to have massive days in opposition to a New Orleans offensive line that’s thirtieth in ESPN’s pass-block win rate rankings. Saints quarterback Derek Carr’s standing is price monitoring. Nevertheless, the choice appears apparent that New Orleans should not begin him after he suffered his second concussion of the season in Week 13 in opposition to the Lions and can also be coping with a rib harm. 

“If Derek’s not capable of go, the plan can be Jameis [Winston] shall be in there. And we’ll put a plan collectively that offers him a chance to have success,” Allen stated. 

Forgive us for not believing him. Over the previous two seasons, Allen and the Saints teaching employees have confirmed unable to set the workforce as much as succeed. A loss to the horrible Panthers would be the low level of the disastrous Allen period.

PREDICTION: Panthers, 20-13

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