Just a couple days ago we were sitting here talking about how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the team that the Atlanta Falcons must worry about. And it made sense as they are (and were) the only team in the division with a better record.
Things change fast, however, and suddenly after a crazy Sunday of NFL football, the Carolina Panthers have popped out of nowhere as the team the Dirty Birds should be most worried about.
Panthers randomly become the Atlanta Falcons’ biggest foe down the stretch
The NFC South has had everything this year—minus consistent play—as every team has had its moments as the team that the other three teams were most worried about. The Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have both held first place while the New Orleans Saints and now the Carolina Panthers have threatened at times.
A week ago it seemed like the division race would most likely go to the Buccaneers, and if it didn’t, it seemed like Atlanta was the most likely team to be next in line. Now, we are in a time where the Panthers are playing the best football in recent times and they control their own destiny.
They are the Falcons’ biggest foe because they have already played each other twice. If the Panthers win their final four games, they win the division and there is nothing the Falcons could do about it. If Atlanta can win their final-four games then they can win the division if the Panthers lose to either the Steelers, Lions, or Saints and beat the Buccaneers (or the Buccaneers beat the Panthers and lose to either the Bengals or Cardinals).
The Falcons vs. Panthers and then the Saints vs. Buccaneers are the only two matchups that won’t take place within the NFC South in the last four weeks.
Carolina have the longest winning streak in the division and they control their own destiny. They have suddenly become the Falcons’ worst enemy.