CAROLINA: 4-2 (DIV) 2-1
TAMPA BAY: 4-3 (DIV) 2-0
NAWLEANS: 2-4 (DIV) 1-2
ATLANTA: 1-6 (DIV) 1-1
With a bye week the Panthers pass the Bucs for first place in the division. Shame the Panthers don't have a bye every week.
In case you have not seen wide receiver and worst player in Madden Mark Jones is out for the season. Which makes Jones the fourth player on the offense to suffer injuries knocking him out for the season. And while Jones' absence at the receiver position will barely be felt his loss will impact the kick return game. The Bucs primary kick and punt returner the Bucs will have to turn to some combination of Ike Hilliard, Phillip Buchanon, and/or Torrie Cox. I don't like using Ike Hilliard as the punt returner, he's not very effective and is far too important to an offense which is already thin at receiver. (Speaking of receiver depth, where the hell has Maurice Stovall been? He was supposed to blow up this season but has been a bust.)
Side note: I know every team suffers injuries but it seems like the Bucs are suffering a good deal of injuries this season and an especially high number of season ending injuries.
New Orleans 22, Atlanta 16
I'm not sure the Saints are back as I am certain that the Falcons are really, miserably bad. I had soured on Reggie Bush this season since I think he is vastly over rated for a few big plays while his flaws are over looked. (Maybe I would have more reason to doubt myself if the sports media didn't have the habit of over rating players similar players, see Vick, Michael and Hall, Dante.) Bush makes a few big plays but he typically does so by running to the outside as opposed to a back like Maurice Jones Drew who gets his big plays by running up the middle of the defense and breaking tackles. It seemed to me like Bush had shied away from contact which didn't bode well for his future. But then his tough touchdown run against the Falcons made me doubt my theory so now I'm back on the fence on the USC back.