Around the NFC South

Time for a look at the top Wednesday morning headlines around the NFC South.

The Atlanta Falcons entered the season with a chance to become the first team in history to win back-to-back NFC South titles. They still have a chance, but, by one calculation, it’s down to 15.4 percent, D. Orlando Ledbetter writes.

The Panthers begin a series of three road games and, more than ever, they’re going to be taking a look at young players. Makes sense because this team has no shot at the playoffs. It’s time to start looking toward next season.

Stephen Holder takes a look at what’s been going wrong for the Bucs. One of the things he mentions is a lack of leadership. This is a much bigger issue than the average fan realizes. This team has virtually no veteran leadership, in large part because there aren’t a lot of veterans. The only guys who have really shown leadership qualities on this team are quarterback Josh Freeman and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. Freeman’s still very young and McCoy is out for the season with an injury.

Jeff Duncan has his weekly film study on the Saints and he makes a very big observation. Duncan says that it was free safety Malcolm Jenkins, not defensive linemen Will Smith and Shaun Rogers, who made the initial contact on Michael Turner on the key fourth-down play in overtime. Smith and Rogers originally were credited with the tackle, but Duncan said it’s clear Jenkins anticipated the play and jumped right into the hole where Turner was supposed to go.