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Atlanta Falcons: Four weeks in the NFC South

Sitting at 4-0 the Atlanta Falcons are owning the NFC South, but what will happen after eight games?

Matt Sullivan - Getty Images

Pundits pegged the Atlanta Falcons to be good in 2012, nobody thought they would be quite this good. Four weeks, four wins, and they weren't against shoddy competition. Right now the Falcons are hot, and the way the NFC South is shaping up, who's going to catch them?

Tampa Bay (1-3)

A young team, getting molded in the image of their head coach, still learning how to win in the NFL. Thus far they've come close to victories, losing by an average of just five points, but they are not in the Falcons' class yet. In 2-3 years there's a chance the Buccaneers could be heir apparent to the division, especially if Schiano's development of the squad continues.

Over their next four games they play the Chiefs, Saints, Vikings, and Raiders. Not an extremely difficult slate, but no team who is an 'easy out'

Projected record at season halfway point: 3-5

Carolina (1-3)

So much for being the NFL's breakout team. This season hasn't been kind to the Panthers as their woefully lacking defense has ensured victory for their opponents. Cam Newton is still performing at a high level, but overall the organization are looking for direction. Last week against Atlanta they had moments, but much like Tampa Bay, the Panthers didn't look like they knew how to win.

In the next four weeks the Panthers face the Seahawks, Cowboys, Redskins and Broncos.

Projected record at season halfway point: 3-5

New Orleans (0-4)

Where do we begin? This team is lost, and nothing has gone right. The Saints are still extremely talented, but all the wind is gone from their sails with Sean Payton, despite having ample bravado. Their vaunted offense looks fallible for the first time in years, and their defense is comically poor. There doesn't seem to be a clear end to this team's issues, at least not in 2012.

Next four opponents are San Diego, Tampa Bay, Denver and Philadelphia... yeesh

Projected record at season halfway point: 1-7

In this scenario all three opponents would still be behind the Falcons after eight games, even if they didn't manage to win another and sat at 4-4. Atlanta are truly in the driver's seat, and it will take something dramatic for that to change. 2012 has become a dream scenario, and we wait to see where that takes the Falcons moving forward.

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