Atlanta Falcons: Coach Dan Quinn isn’t hiding from the fact that the Falcons (4-9) are one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL. “As we’re sitting here at Week 15, we have four wins,” Quinn told reporters. “So you’d better believe we’re evaluating everything and doing anything to get it right.” Atlanta has dropped its past five games. Early-season injuries began the team’s derailment, but mistakes and inconsistent play have continued the decline. “As we’re going through it, from players to staff to everything, we want to make sure we look at the body of work and get clear, concise evaluations on everybody,” Quinn said. “When you’re standing where we’re at, it’s not what you want to do, but that’s part of it and what we’re looking at for sure. If you’re clearly at four wins during this time, then we have not met expectations.”
Carolina Panthers: A once-promising campaign has disintegrated with five consecutive setbacks. Carolina has gone from battling the New Orleans Saints for the NFC West lead to being an outsider in the NFC wild-card chase. “Things happen,” veteran defensive end Julius Peppers said. “Your plans don’t always work out how you want them to.” That is certainly true with the Panthers, but Peppers said the team still has a positive vibe. “To be honest with you, I don’t feel like there is a loss of confidence or anything,” Peppers said. “We’re just not putting a good product on the field.” Meanwhile, widedout Devin Funchess, who is slated for free agency after the season, played in just 32 of 72 snaps Sunday in Carolina’s loss to the Cleveland Browns and has just three catches over the past three games. Rookie DJ Moore played 66 snaps vs. the Browns and second-year pro Curtis Samuel played 58.
New Orleans Saints: The offense came to life by scoring 25 points over the final 19-plus minutes Sunday in the Saints’ 28-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a slump of more than 6 1/2 quarters. New Orleans scored just 13 points during its funk — a stunning development for a team that averaged 41 points over its previous five games while scoring at least 30 in each. “A lot of people expect us to come out and be perfect, but that’s just not reality,” Saints running back Alvin Kamara told reporters. “You know, people make mistakes. We may start slow sometimes. But it’s not when adversity hits, it’s how you respond to it. And I think this team responds well to adversity.”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Receiver Mike Evans is on pace to break the club’s single-season receiving yardage mark that was set in 1989. Evans has 1,207 yards and needs to average just 72 yards over the final three games to surpass the record set by Mark Carrier (1,422). Evans has three of the team’s nine 1,200-yard campaigns, including his career best of 1,321 yards in 2016. Earlier this season, Evans broke Carrier’s franchise record for most career receiving yards. Carrier had 5,018. Evans, 25, is now at 5,786. Despite Evans’ strong campaign, Tampa Bay has lost eight of its past 11 games after a 2-0 start.
—Field Level Media