Atlanta Falcons 50: Falcons’ Biggest 2015 Games #2


Today we continue the “Falcons 50” countdown to the Atlanta Falcons’ first game of 2015. We move on our list of the Falcons’ biggest games this year, moving onto No. 2.

You can find the full list of “Falcons 50” posts here.

For the Atlanta Falcons to reach the playoffs this year, they will need to take care of business in a number of big games featured on the schedule. It arguably doesn’t get any bigger than my selection for No. 2.

Falcons’ biggest 2015 games #2 – Both Carolina games

Yes, I know – a bit of a cop out. I’ve picked two games rather than one. But for me, they are of equal importance and neither is bigger than the other.

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The Falcons won’t meet the Panthers for the first time until Week 14, just 12 days from Christmas. They will then face off two weeks later in the Georgia Dome.

In yesterday’s addition of “Falcons 50”, I named the Week 13 game with the Buccaneers as the third biggest game of the Falcons’ season. This was largely due to the fact it’s a division game deep into the season.

Four of the Falcons’ final five games of the season are division games and the first two are on the road.

That’s big.

Due to the fact both games with the Panthers are so close and are both at crunch time late in the season, I can’t pick between them.

One one hand, winning on the road would be more important as it would put an extra win on the board and mean Atlanta can do no worse than splitting the series with Carolina.

Nov 16, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Steven Jackson (39) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

On the other, an argument could be made that the Week 16 clash at the Georgia Dome is more important. Not only is it at home, it’s a week before the regular season finale and the Falcons would need as much momentum as possible going into a potential playoff run.

While the game against Indianapolis is exciting and the trip to Dallas will test the new-look Atlanta defense, these divisional contests down the stretch will make or break the Falcons’ season.

Of course, they have to be in a position to make a playoff run by the time December rolls around, but assuming they are at least in contention, these two games will be pivotal.

The first three months of the season is about setting themselves up for a run in December. In the first 12 weeks, the Falcons will win some games and they will lose some, but it’s important they are winning more than losing to keep themselves in the NFC South hunt.

As soon as December hits, play time is over.

The schedule maker perhaps senses a battle to the end in the NFC South and expects there to be some great theater late in the season. Just look at the divisional games we will see late in the season:

Week 13
Atlanta at Tampa Bay
Carolina at New Orleans

Week 14
New Orleans at Tampa Bay
Atlanta at Carolina

Week 16
Carolina at Atlanta

Week 17
Tampa Bay at Carolina
New Orleans at Atlanta

Yeah, this one is going down to the wire.

Atlanta and Carolina both play four divisional games down this stretch, so it’s going to be incredibly important to secure victories over each other.

After a tough test on the road to the Buccaneers, the Falcons will travel to the Bank of America Stadium in need of a victory. Even with a win in Carolina, Atlanta will need to do the same two weeks later in the comfortable environment of the Georgia Dome.

Both games against the Panthers are equally important and tough for the Falcons. And I for one can’t wait.