Coach Dungy picks Falcons to win NFC South

NBC Thursday Night Football announcers Liam McHugh, left, Tony Dungy, center, and Rodney Harrison sit on the sideline set at Heinz Field before an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Hall of Fame football coach Tony Dungy, who’s an analyst for NBC Sports, is going with the Falcons to win the NFC South.

“I thought it was a good sign for the Carolina Panthers (on Sunday) to score that many points without Cam Newton really having a good day, but I like the Atlanta Falcons in this division,” said Tony Dungy during the Sunday Night game on NBC. “I just like where they are. The energy and the way this offense is playing now. This is what we expected all year.”

Falcons coach Dan Quinn received the endorsement well.

“The guy is in the Hall of Fame for a reason,” Quinn quipped before locking back into his one-game-at-a-time mode.

Even the acerbic Rodney Harrison is giving the Falcons a “maybe” nod.

“But the division is so close,” Harrison said. “I think it comes down to which team is the healthiest. For the Saints, the injuries are starting to pile up. Carolina, they use Cam Newton too much in the run game and they can’t run the ball consistently. If I had to pick a team, maybe the Falcons.”

The Falcons (7-4) are chasing the Saints (8-3) and Panthers (8-3). They are down one game with five to play. They must play the Saints twice and end the regular-season hosting Carolina on Dec. 31.

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