NFC South halftime thoughts

All three of Sunday’s NFC South games are at halftime and the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints are holding leads.

The Panthers have a 14-3 lead on the Oakland Raiders, courtesy of an early touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Steve Smith and a Luke Kuechly interception that set up a Newton touchdown run late in the second quarter. If Carolina can hang onto this one, the Panthers will be on a three-game winning streak and coach Ron Rivera may have a chance to keep his job.

In Dallas, the Saints lead the Cowboys, 17-14. The New Orleans defense, which had shown some improvement in recent weeks, is back to its early-season form. The Saints have allowed Tony Romo and Dez Bryant to hook up on two touchdown passes. The Saints also have been plagued by some penalties on the offensive line and drops by Marques Colston and Devery Henderson. But Drew Brees put the Saints in the lead by leading them to a touchdown and a field goal late in the second quarter.

In Tampa Bay, there are probably more fans than ever jumping off the Josh Freeman bandwagon with the Bucs trailing 14-6. Freeman threw an interception that Janoris Jenkins returned for a touchdown early in the second quarter. Later in the second quarter, Freeman was picked off again to set up another St. Louis touchdown.

I'll be back with wrap-ups on all three games soon after they end.