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Laser-focused Drew Brees (9) has the New Orleans Saints (6-3) in first place in the NFC South. The Saints are among the NFC's leading candidates to play in Super Bowl XLVI.
The Carolina Panthers’ NFC South rivals, the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, each won at least ten games in 2010 with both the Saints and the Falcons making the NFL Playoffs.
The NFC South is among the most competitive divisions in the NFL again in 2011 with the Saints (6-3), Falcons (5-3) and Buccaneers (4-4) all winning at least half of their first eight games.
The Panthers held fourth quarter leads in each of their divisional games this year against the Saints and the Falcons, but they came up short both times.
New Orleans’ quarterback, Drew Brees, led a time-consuming drive late in the fourth quarter which culminated in the Saints’ winning touchdown with just over a minute left in the game in New Orleans’ 30-27 Week 5 victory in Charlotte.
Cam Newton played his worst fifteen minutes of professional football the following week in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons. His costly turnovers and inability to move the ball in the final period helped Atlanta team turn a 17-14 deficit into a 31-17 win.
The Panthers have four divisional games remaining this season, including two games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and they will likely be the underdogs in all four divisional games.
Newton told reporters earlier this week that the Panthers are ready to "flush out the nonsense" and bring in a new attitude for the upcoming games, but they will need more than just a winning attitude to win. They will need to execute on every play.