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NFL Week 5 -- Jets at Falcons

It wasn't supposed to be like this. And no, we aren't referring to the New York Jets' surprising 2-2 start in the face of league-basement expectations. We mean the Atlanta Falcons, whose 30-23 loss to the New England Patriots dropped them to 1-3 -- causing them to match their loss total from a season ago. What's up with Atlanta? What to make of New York's first four games?

  • Which team will win the Jets-Falcons game in Atlanta on Monday night? (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

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      10%
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      90%

    Discuss (Total votes: 16,487)

  • The Falcons already have surpassed last season's loss total. How many games will Atlanta lose this season?

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      20%
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      49%
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      31%

    Discuss (Total votes: 5,319)

  • Which of these is the Falcons' biggest issue this season?

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      27%
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      53%
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      20%

    Discuss (Total votes: 5,085)

  • Can Rex Ryan save his job as Jets head coach?

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      26%
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      38%
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      36%

    Discuss (Total votes: 15,114)

  • Should the Jets bench Geno Smith for Matt Simms or Brady Quinn?

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      36%
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      64%

    Discuss (Total votes: 39,716)

  • If you were a Jets fan, which more reflects how you would feel about the team's 2-2 start?

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      63%
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      37%

    Discuss (Total votes: 4,918)

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Who's the best in the NFC?

With apologies to the NFC East, whose season did not start until Sunday night, the NFC's major powers -- at least according to the Super Bowl odds -- all played Sunday afternoon. Early on, the Saints held off a late Falcons goal-to-go to open the season 1-0, a nice development, considering New Orleans' 0-4 start a year ago. Seattle, meanwhile, slogged through a 12-7 win over the improved Panthers. In the late game, the Seahawks' NFC West nemesis, San Francisco, outlasted the Packers 34-28, thanks in large part to Colin Kaepernick's 412 passing yards and three TDs. What does all this mean for the National Football Conference?

  • Which NFC team had the best day?

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      57%
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      7%
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      13%
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      19%
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      4%

    Discuss (Total votes: 18,543)

  • What do you make of the 49ers' 34-28 home win over the Packers?

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      45%
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      55%

    Discuss (Total votes: 22,843)

  • The 49ers incorrectly received an extra third down during the second quarter, turning a likely field goal attempt into a TD. How much of a difference did this play make?

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      60%
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      40%

    Discuss (Total votes: 10,259)

  • Which team will win the NFC West?

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      63%
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      31%
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      6%

    Discuss (Total votes: 19,621)

  • What do you make of the Saints' 23-17 home win over the Falcons?

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      58%
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      42%

    Discuss (Total votes: 9,623)

  • Which team will win the NFC South?

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      46%
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      49%
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      5%

    Discuss (Total votes: 10,223)

  • Are the 49ers the best team in the NFC?

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      59%
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      41%

    Discuss (Total votes: 41,766)

  • Which quarterback would you rather have over the next three years?

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      13%
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      31%
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      37%
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      6%
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      13%

    Discuss (Total votes: 10,661)

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The Saints ceded control of the NFC South last season to the Falcons, but in fairness, they had a good excuse: coach Sean Payton was in the middle of a season-long suspension. Saints linebacker Junior Galette believes it'll be different this season -- he said the Saints "'want to dominate the division." That's a pretty bold statement, considering just how bad New Orleans' defense was last season, but he does have history on his side: Since 2006, the Saints are 11-3 against the Falcons.

Here's a sampling of what readers had to say in our Facebook conversation on the story:

What do you think? Leave your comments below.

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Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

NFC South Preview -- 2013

For several years in the NFC South, it's been a back-and-forth battle between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints, with last season's bout firmly landing in the Falcons' corner (those bounty scandal suspensions certainly didn't help the Saints). Now New Orleans is looking to rebound, Atlanta aims to take that next step (read: the Super Bowl) and those "other" two teams -- the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- hope to break into the postseason.

More: NFC East | NFC North | NFC West | AFC East | AFC North | AFC South | AFC West

  • Which team will win the NFC South?

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      4%
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      66%
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      5%
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      25%

    Discuss (Total votes: 35,980)

  • Will the Falcons reach the Super Bowl in the next three years?

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      61%
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      39%

    Discuss (Total votes: 11,589)

  • Is Matt Ryan an elite quarterback?

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      70%
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      30%

    Discuss (Total votes: 11,355)

  • Will the Saints make the playoffs this season?

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      64%
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      36%

    Discuss (Total votes: 11,340)

  • Will Cam Newton ever be an elite quarterback?

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      51%
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      49%

    Discuss (Total votes: 10,667)

  • Josh Freeman's contract is up after 2013. Is this Josh Freeman's final year as the Buccaneers' starting quarterback?

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      65%
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      35%

    Discuss (Total votes: 10,458)

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Defense might not be winning championships these days -- the Baltimore Ravens, after all, were fairly middle-of-the-road -- but it certainly doesn't hurt; the Super Bowl runner-up San Francisco 49ers had one of the league's best defenses a season ago, as did many of the league's playoff teams. How do the contenders stack up on that side of the ball in 2013? Click on the logos below to set your rankings!

NFL Defenses

49ers

49ers

2012 YPG Rank: 3rd
2012 PPG Rank: 2nd

Bears

Bears

2012 YPG Rank: 5th
2012 PPG Rank: 3rd

Bengals

Bengals

2012 YPG Rank: 6th
2012 PPG Rank: 8th

Bills

Bills

2012 YPG Rank: 22nd
2012 PPG Rank: 26th

Broncos

Broncos

2012 YPG Rank: 2nd
2012 PPG Rank: 4th

Browns

Browns

2012 YPG Rank: 23rd
2012 PPG Rank: 19th

Buccaneers

Buccaneers

2012 YPG Rank: 29th
2012 PPG Rank: 23rd

Cardinals

Cardinals

2012 YPG Rank: 12th
2012 PPG Rank: 17th

Chargers

Chargers

2012 YPG Rank: 9th
2012 PPG Rank: 16th

Chiefs

Chiefs

2012 YPG Rank: 20th
2012 PPG Rank: 25th

Colts

Colts

2012 YPG Rank: 26th
2012 PPG Rank: 21st

Cowboys

Cowboys

2012 YPG Rank: 19th
2012 PPG Rank: 24th

Dolphins

Dolphins

2012 YPG Rank: 21st
2012 PPG Rank: 7th

Eagles

Eagles

2012 YPG Rank: 15th
2012 PPG Rank: 29th

Falcons

Falcons

2012 YPG Rank: 24th
2012 PPG Rank: 5th

Giants

Giants

2012 YPG Rank: 31st
2012 PPG Rank: 12th

Jaguars

Jaguars

2012 YPG Rank: 30th
2012 PPG Rank: 29th

Jets

Jets

2012 YPG Rank: 8th
2012 PPG Rank: 20th

Lions

Lions

2012 YPG Rank: 13th
2012 PPG Rank: 27th

Packers

Packers

2012 YPG Rank: 11th
2012 PPG Rank: 11th

Panthers

Panthers

2012 YPG Rank: 10th
2012 PPG Rank: 18th

Patriots

Patriots

2012 YPG Rank: 25th
2012 PPG Rank: 9th

Raiders

Raiders

2012 YPG Rank: 18th
2012 PPG Rank: 8th

Rams

Rams

2012 YPG Rank: 14th
2012 PPG Rank: 14th

Ravens

Ravens

2012 YPG Rank: 17th
2012 PPG Rank: 12th

Redskins

Redskins

2012 YPG Rank: 28th
2012 PPG Rank: 22nd

Saints

Saints

2012 YPG Rank: 32nd
2012 PPG Rank: 31st

Seahawks

Seahawks

2012 YPG Rank: 4th
2012 PPG Rank: 1st

Steelers

Steelers

2012 YPG Rank: 1st
2012 PPG Rank: 6th

Texans

Texans

2012 YPG Rank: 7th
2012 PPG Rank: 9th

Titans

Titans

2012 YPG Rank: 27th
2012 PPG Rank: 32nd

Vikings

Vikings

2012 YPG Rank: 16th
2012 PPG Rank: 14th

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