Atlanta Falcons must finish the season on positive note

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Dec 13, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) reacts in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

4. Carolina Panthers a class above

No team is playing as well as the Carolina Panthers right now. They were simply a class above the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, and remain a step above everybody else in the NFC, possibly even the NFL. I don’t think Carolina is the best team, but they are playing the best football.

With each passing week, they seem to get better. Their 38-0 beat down of the Falcons highlighted everything good about this football team. They can play lights out defense, they have a dominant rushing attack and can burn defenses deep. All of this was on show as the Panthers strolled to 13-0, just three wins away from a perfect season.

To make history, they will need to come through three more challenges. Up first is a road trip to the consistently inconsistent New York Giants. Pass that test, and they will face the Falcons in a rematch inside the Georgia Dome. Will the Falcons turn up ready to avenge the humiliating loss, or will they already be beaten before kickoff?

If Carolina moves to 15-0, the opportunity to complete the sweep will take place at Bank of America Stadium in a Week 17 showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Not one of these games is daunting for the Panthers, and they will truly believe they can achieve this lofty goal.

A first-round bye; the playoffs will run through Carolina. In my opinion, there are only two teams capable of stopping the Panthers reaching Super Bowl 50. One is the Arizona Cardinals, the other is the Seattle Seahawks. Either one of those games would be fascinating to watch.

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