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NFL Standings, NFC South Edition: Falcons Holding Off Saints, Bucs Slip

New Orleans Saints fans: your team had its shot. No trash talk, either -- the Saints came back after nearly turkey-bone choking, and needed the Green Bay Packers to beat the Atlanta Falcons to move into a near-tie for the NFC South lead. And Green Bay is the best team besides yours that Atlanta will face the rest of the way.

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But the Birds followed the same script against the Packers as they have against just about every other team this season: build a lead, let the clock wilt while the other guys rally, and then lock the game up late. Who knows if it can go on forever, but it's driving New Orleans crazy. Come on y'all, we put up with your nonstop pick-sixes last year.

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As long as the Saints can hang within a game of Atlanta, they'll still get their chance. Dec. 27 in the Georgia Dome could decide the conference, not just the division. I like the Birds remaining schedule (at Bucs, at Panthers, at Seahawks, and Panthers) better than the Saints (at Bengals, at Ravens, Rams, and Bucs), but our teal friends from Charlotte have to have a good game in them at some point this season, right?

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell a game behind, but can make it up and then some with a win against Atlanta this weekend. The Panthers lost to the Cleveland Browns after John Kasay's final field goal bounced off the upright, meaning the Cats are officially unluckier than the Browns, and for that they have our sympathies.

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NFC South Standings

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W L T PF PA
Atlanta920276209
New Orleans830265197
Tampa Bay740219223
Carolina1100140276
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(updated 11.29.2010 at 4:26 AM EST)

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Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.