Grits, Gravy, and Gumbo: Despair, ecstasy, and redemption

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Updated: November 25, 2013

Good day, blokes, and welcome to Water Cooler Sports’ Grits, Gravy, and Gumbo, your speculum providing an inside look at NFC South news on this Monday, November 25th, 2013.

In contrast to the NFC North, where no teams won in Week 12, three NFC South teams won this week. In fact, one of the Dirty South teams — namely, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — helped to pummel the North into a Black and Blue blob, taking it to the Detroit Lions in their own den.

Actress Haley Webb will be celebrating 28 years of impeccable taste today.

Although one South team has already been eliminated from playoff contention, it looks like half the division will be represented in the posteseason. The only remaining question is who will take the No. 2 seed in the NFC: the New Orleans Saints or the Carolina Panthers?

If I were a betting man, my money would probably be on the Panthers at this point, if only because their defense is a force to be reckoned with this year. But then again, what do I know? I’m a Green Bay Packers fan, so it’s not like I would recognize a winning team if one smacked me in the face.

Before I wax too cynical, let’s delve into today’s helping of historical birthdays: Joe DiMaggio (1914-1999); John F. Kennedy, Jr. (1960-1999); auto designer Karl Benz (1844-1929); and Ricardo Montalban (1920-2009), who played Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island.

NFC South News

I had a dream there was a rainbow,
Over the mountains, over the links!

Atlanta Falcons

Quick — name the only team to have gone from a conference title game to losing eight of their first 10 games the following season not once, but twice since 1999?

If you guessed “the Atlanta Falcons,” you’d be correct. With their defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta fell to 2-9, tied with the Hosuton Texans for worst record in the NFL.

Atlanta Falcons fans began to give up hope as it became clear that their team was guaranted a losing season.

Nevertheless, despite the team’s plunge into ignominy, head coach Mike Smith has been assured by team management that his . Fans can take solace in knowing that the league’s (until recently) winningest coach of the past five years will still be calling the shots in 2014.

The report card issued by Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist D. Orlando Ledbetter was, not surprisingly, . He did give quarterback Matt Ryan and the running backs a B, as well as the coaching staff, who he believes had the team prepared to play. He dropped a a D-minus on the offensive line, which struggled to protect Ryan all game.

Incidentally, Atlanta becomes the first NFC team to be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. They are now focused on and putting on a good showing the rest of the way.

Carolina Panthers

For the first time since 2003, the Carolina Panthers (8-3) have put together a

It wasn’t pretty — they were down 16-3 at the half — but they mounted a late-game comeback to defeat the Miami Dolphins 20-16, dropping them to 5-6.

With the New Orleans Saints at 9-2, the Panthers remain a full game behind the NFC South division leaders, who currently possess the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoff standings.

The upcoming home-and-home series between the Panthers and Saints promises to be a battle of titanic proportions, especially since New Orleans must travel to CenturyLink Field to challenge the top-seeded Seattle Seahawks (10-1) in their house.

Wondering what has keyed the abrupt turnaround from last season? Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer argues that it’s “.” He thinks that the Panthers aren’t just lucky — they’re also good.

It also helps that head coach Ron Rivera has found an aggressive streak of late. As Jonathan Jones points out, on the final drive that helped seal the victory.

They kept it close, but the Atlanta Falcons weren’t able to pull out a victory against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday Night Football.

New Orleans Saints

With the Carolina Panthers stalking only one game behind the New Orleans Saints in the division standings, Terrance Harris of The Times-Picayune wonders they really represent to steal the crown.

The Saints’ upcoming Monday Night Football contest against the Seattle Seahawks will likely have a decisive effect on the conference standings. Should New Orleans lose, it will become much harder for them to overtake Seattle for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. If they win, it will become imperative for Carolina to prevail in both of their head-to-head tilts.

Recognizing the importance of the Saints’ December 8th home game, to flex it to their Sunday Night Football slot at 7:30 p.m. The lowly Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers have been bumped back to a noon time slot.

You trivia fans out there will be delighted to learn that with his 73 yards on 10 carries, running back Pierre Thomas “moved past Chuck Muncie and Rueben Mayes into fourth place on the club’s all-time rushing list with 3,460 rushing yards.”

Pundits are calling for Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano to be retained another year on the heels of a three-game winning streak.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The mob’s clamor for the head of head coach Greg Schiano has quieted markedly since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-8) embarked on a three-game winning streak.

Their latest victim? The Detroit Lions, whom they at Ford Field yesterday.

They recovered five turnovers — including four interceptions by quarterback Matthew Stafford — as their own quarterback, Mike Glennon, “played almost mistake-free football,” reports the Associated Press.

And that was on defense, points out Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune.

Team co-chairman Joel Glazer seemed ecstatic about the victory: “I think it’s tremendous . . . . The guys are hanging in there and fighting to the end. I think that speaks volumes about Greg. (These are) tough times, but the team has never doubted him in the locker room.”

They say winning cures all ills, and it looks like it will as well.

Actress Katie Cassidy is turning 27 today, but her birthday party has been pre-empted by Monday Night Football.

About the author(s)

Rourke Douglas Decker covers the Green Bay Packers beat for Water Cooler Sports. He resides with his family in the Twin Cities. He can be reached for questions or comments at . Connect with .

905 comments
jmac3444
jmac3444

so is call your shot going to be wed considering no one will be on thursday

jmac3444
jmac3444

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Bears HC Marc Trestman said Jay Cutler not expected to play Sunday vs. Vikings.

THEGOOSEISLOOSE
THEGOOSEISLOOSE

this is the most interesting thing I have found on the internet today

Lions 49 Packers 7
Lions 49 Packers 7

The last time the Lions won on Thanksgiving they beat the Packers

robertj72
robertj72

I don't think the teams record, if they won or loss last week, or if Chicago or Detroit won or loss last week should matter one iota. 

If Rodgers is healthy enough to return then he should return. They pay him a fuckload of money. As far as i understand you can't make "this" injury worse. It is healed or not. In fact broken bones are stronger after healed than originally. 

If he is not healthy enough to go he should sit. 

The ability to win the division/get into playoffs are immaterial.

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

The last time the Lions won on Thanksgiving, The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy had not released its last film yet.

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

The last time the Lions won on Thanksgiving, the movie Elf had just premiered.

robertj72
robertj72

Cartoon. He can be back next episode and it means nothing. Haven't they basically killed every character at some point and then brought them back? Onl;y GREAT cartoon death was killing Chef on South Park...EPIC.

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

 not unless you move over to the Bears article

robertj72
robertj72

I think the vote was strongly in favor of Tuesday.

Preparation_A
Preparation_A moderator

  

You better hope the Ghost doesn't walk by as that wafts out into the hall.

jmac3444
jmac3444

 actually I am pretty sure you can make this injury way worse

niemerg1
niemerg1

 to be fair...i think its still playing in theaters....its probably about to one of its 4 endings

Lions 49 Packers 7
Lions 49 Packers 7

 Due to Millen. A Millen team beat the Packers. Hang your head in shame

robertj72
robertj72

Nothing in this follows any logic.

Preparation_A
Preparation_A moderator

  

Ergo, let's make sure he's able to play next year.

BearsSaveLives
BearsSaveLives moderator

 So old, they hadn't moved Macy's to 34th street.

Preparation_A
Preparation_A moderator

  

I'm 95% sure that movie doesn't exist.

So yes.

robertj72
robertj72

Broncos and Bears is pretty much identical,.

robertj72
robertj72

Lastly, as a business owner, I believe in the long run making the correct moral choice in business is the smart business decision. Have numerous companies profitted short term by eschewing this? Yes. But later it becomes costly. One of the great things about the Packers and the only reason they remain in such a small market and have such a huge public following is their higher morals in having the public own the team. That in no small way accounts for the player loyalty as well.

robertj72
robertj72

HAsn't this season with easier practice...i.e. less toll on their bodies and the record injuries shown that babying these bodies and injuries is flawed?

robertj72
robertj72

No i am not. I am saying that players play. And if he is ready to go he needs to go. Morally sure. But pragmatically and team wise as well.

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

You're trying to put moral implications on a business decision. IF the playoffs are completely out the question, the games are (statistically) meaningless unless you're trying to prove something. And just because you don't get injured doesn't mean the games don't take a toll. If we're not completely out of the playoff hunt, then yes, of course he plays. If we're out, then I don't see the issue of letting him heal up, rest up, and try to see which backups we want to keep around.

robertj72
robertj72

They are and their teams have failed following that as often as won. It is a flawed manuever. You just made my case. The more powerful teams try to manipulate this...they are a favorite, yet are barely 50% in success the very next game.

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

Your #3 point makes no sense. Star Players are held out of games ALL THE TIME at the end of the season if the team has already locked up the top seed, it goes both ways. The ability to make or not make the playoffs matter A LOT.

robertj72
robertj72

1. The playoffs are not out of the question. 

2. broken bones after they are healed are stronger not weaker. 

3. My point is you pay a man to play. If he is healthy enough to play he plays. End of sentence. What team won or loss means nothing. Hasn't time after time of watching guys try to play God and protect against injury and fail shown anything. They held Rose back extra time...how is that working?

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

If we can't make the playoffs anyways, what's the point of putting our star franchise QB at risk for any more bodily harm this year? You made the point about the amount of money he makes. He makes WAY more next year, so let's make sure he goes into the offseason as healthy as possible. Again, that's IF the playoffs are out of the question.

robertj72
robertj72

   It does not. His pay is his pay...how it is divied is relevant only for accounting not for his availablity or which season he will, should or can be better in.