Atlanta Falcons vs Panthers: Win and in game predictions

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 05: Justin Hardy (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 05: Justin Hardy (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Writer: Randy Gurzi

Breakdown: It all comes down to this game for the Atlanta Falcons — and who would have expected anything less with how up and down this 2017 season has been for them. The Falcons of course started out their NFC title defense with a 3-0 start, but they’ve been a .500 club since then. Their most recent outing was a beat down at the hands of the New Orleans Saints, which also ended any hopes of recapturing the NFC South crown.

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Even with that gone, Atlanta can still secure their playoff spot this season with a win. They still can make it with a Seattle loss, but backing into the playoffs is never ideal. They need to take care of business at home against a strong divisional rival in the Carolina Panthers — a team that already beat them once this season.

Carolina is playing for something as well as they still have a shot at winning the South if the Saints lose to Tampa Bay. That’s unlikely to happen, but the games are at the same time, so no competitive advantage will come before the game for the Dirty Birds.

This weekend’s game will be tough. Carolina is playing great in recent weeks and quarterback Cam Newton is a nightmare to stop. He will test the defense at every step, but that’s not the biggest concern. The Falcons offense has been inconsistent and frustrating. The game will come down to whether or not they can play 60 minutes of clean football. I am predicting they finally do. I think.

Prediction: Atlanta 23, Carolina 17