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NFL Standings, NFC South: Cam Newton's Advent Nearly Ends In Division Lead

Well, at least we thought the NFC South looked like the toughest division in the NFL. After three of its four teams won 10 games last year, most experts picked the NFL SEC to send at least two, if not three, teams into the playoffs, with the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints expected to battle for the regional crown.

All four teams lost their opening week games, though most put up a fight against competition from their corresponding weight classes. And the one team figured to finish in the dumps sent the early season's most commanding warning shot.

The Carolina Panthers came up two yards short of taking the Arizona Cardinals to overtime before losing 28-21, which doesn't really sound all that great. But Carolina served notice to the rest of the division. New quarterback Cam Newton currently leads the NFL in passing yardage (what in the hell!) and broke various rookie records in the process, kicking off what was supposed to be another season in the cellar.

It was only the Cardinals, but the Panthers don't look like pushovers right now. If the Falcons played Carolina the way they played the Chicago Bears in their 30-12 loss, I don't see Atlanta coming up with a win.

Elsewhere, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost 27-20 to the Detroit Lions and the Saints fell 42-34 to the Green Bay Packers.

The NFC South's standings after Week 1: everybody's right where they started. All losses were to NFC opponents outside of the division. But if you had to come up with some sort of power rankings for the South, someone would have to talk you out of putting the Panthers ahead of the Falcons.

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