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NFC South Update Heading into Week 14

Atlanta Falcons (7-5) - 0 Games Ahead
After dropping their Week 13 contest against the Chiefs, the Falcons sit two games above .500 with four matchups left in the regular season. Atlanta's offense remains a top-tier unit, as its 32.2 points per game and 412 yards per game rank first and third in the NFL, respectively. The Falcons are giving up 381.7 yards and 27.6 points per game, though, and improving on defense will be a top priority down the stretch.

Remaining Schedule:
Dec. 11 at Rams (4-7)
Dec. 18 vs. 49ers (1-10)
Dec. 24 at Panthers (4-7)
Jan. 1 vs. Saints (5-6)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5) – 0 Games Behind
By taking down San Diego last week, the Buccaneers earned their fourth-straight win and matched the Falcons' 7-5 record. The Bucs remains in second place, however, due to the league's tie-breaker rules. Tampa Bay and Atlanta split its two games against each other this season, so the next tie-breaker is division record. The Bucs own a 2-2 mark in the NFC South; the Falcons have won three of four against division opponents. Nevertheless, Dirk Koetter's team has made an admirable push to the top of the standings, and it's done so with an improved defense: After giving up 29 points per game through eight contests, Tampa surrendered just 13.25 points per game in the last four weeks.

Remaining Schedule:
Dec. 11 vs. Saints (5-6)
Dec. 18 at Cowboys (10-1)
Dec. 24 at Saints (5-6)
Jan. 1 vs. Panthers (4-7)

New Orleans Saints (5-7) – 2 Games Behind
The Saints had a chance to move one game behind .500 on Sunday, but an uninspiring loss to the Lions, during which they scored only 13 points, pushed them farther down the NFC totem pole. New Orleans' 4-1 run from Oct. 2 to Nov. 6 is a distance memory now: The Saints have dropped three of four and, in the process, have experienced some unusual adversity on offense. While they put up 49 against LA in Week 12, they mustered just 18.67 points per game in their last three setbacks.

Remaining Schedule:
Dec. 11 at Buccaneers (6-5)
Dec. 18 at Cardinals (4-6-1)
Dec. 24 vs. Buccaneers (6-5)
Jan. 1 at Falcons (7-4)

Carolina Panthers (4-8) – 3 Games Behind
The Panthers' nightmare campaign hit a low point Sunday night when it dropped a 40-7 contest to the Seahawks. Carolina won three of four between Oct. 30 and Nov. 17, but defensive lapses, coupled with an offense that's taken a step back, has ensured Cam Newton and Co. will finish .500 or below after going 15-1 in 2015. The Panthers have not been eliminated from the playoffs, but even a perfect finish would likely keep them on the outside looking in.

*Remaining Schedule: *
Dec. 11 vs. Chargers (5-6)
Dec. 19 at Redskins (6-4-1)
Dec. 24 vs. Falcons (7-4)
Jan. 1 at Buccaneers (6-5)

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