The Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals – the NFC’s divisional leaders in the East, North and West – own a combined five losses through 27 games. The NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints have five losses through nine games.

New Orleans lost its first home game of the season last Sunday, an overtime heartbreaker against the San Francisco 49ers, and sit at an ugly 1-4 in five road games. The Carolina Panthers are losers of four straight, now 3-6-1 through 10 games. So that means the Atlanta Falcons – yes, those Atlanta Falcons, that already sustained a five-game losing streak this year and are 32nd in the NFL in opposing passing yards and 24th in opposing rushing yards – are alive in the divisional race at 3-6.

SiriusXM NFL Radio’s Pat Kirwan broke down the wasteland of mediocrity that is the NFC South, and pointed out that while Atlanta doesn’t necessarily have the personnel to make a run at an NFC South crown, they are very much a team to keep an eye on.

“Here’s the Saints. They lose a game in overtime, everyone’s devastated, and they really haven’t lost any ground. They’re sitting right in the same spot. And Atlanta’s starting to think they can get back in this race now,” Kirwan said. “I know in Atlanta right now – they might’ve been a dead man walking a few weeks ago, but they have to feel energized by what’s going on. I don’t know if they have the talent to do it, but Kroy Biermann had a big game last week.”

Atlanta’s record in the division – 3-0 – could go a long way in an improbable run to the playoffs.

“The Panthers lost [Monday]; the ripple effect is a little bit of euphoria for the Falcons who think, ‘What the heck, we’re right behind these guys and we’ve got some division wins.’ So maybe they’re back in the race,” Kirwan said. “I don’t think they really are, I think there’s too many deficiencies there; but nonetheless, Carolina didn’t do anything to help themselves [Monday], and I think there’s a lot more questions right now than answers.”

Sunday, the Saints host the reeling Cincinnati Bengals, while the Panthers and Falcons match up in Atlanta. For SiriusXM channel information for each game, visit the NFL schedule.

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