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Falcons - Panthers Series History 101: A brief but intense rivalry

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Class is in session and the Falcons normally do pretty well in this course.

Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After beating the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, the Falcons quickly shift their attention to Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. This series, while still between divisional rivals, does not stack up to the rivalry with Atlanta and New Orleans and a lot of that is because it is not as closely-contended. Over the last two decades, Atlanta has won almost every game at home and about half of the games on the road—it’s been a pretty successful series for Atlanta.

We’ll take a closer look, though.

Overall series records

The Falcons and Panthers have played 42 games, the first of which occurred on September 3, 1995 in Carolina when the Falcons won 23-20. Of those 42 games, the Falcons have won 25 games and the Panthers have won 17, and the average margin of victory in those games is 12.5 points per game.

The home-away split is even at 21 games played in both Atlanta and Carolina. In games played away from Atlanta, the Falcons own a 10-11 record, but they have dominated the series in Atlanta, where they have a 15-6 record against the Panthers.

Atlanta’s biggest victory/loss

While the margin of victory is pretty large for an NFL series, there are a couple of games where 12.5 points pales in comparison to the score of the day. For example, the Falcons biggest victory in this series was on November 24, 2002 when they beat the Panthers in a shutout, 41-0. The biggest win in recent memory, though, is the massive upset that the Falcons pulled last year to ruin the Panthers perfect season—that was a fun one.

The Falcons have also been on the receiving end of a couple of big losses, but the worst loss occurred last year. The Panthers destroyed the Falcons 38-0 on December 13, 2015.

With some big changes at the quarterback position for both teams, the series has evened out a bit.

New quarterbacks, similar results

Since Matt Ryan arrived in Atlanta in 2008, the Falcons have won just over half of the games played. They have a 9-7 record against the Panthers in the last eight years. Since Newton got to Carolina in 2011, the Panthers are 5-5, but have played better football as a whole, except for the 2012 season.

The margin of victory since 2008 is actually higher than the overall series average of 12.5—13.6 points. Since 2011, the margin of victory is closer to the overall average at 12.7 points per game.

Quick-hitting series notes

  • Dan Quinn is 1-1 against the Panthers and has experienced two very different games: a 38-0 loss on Dec. 13 and a huge 20-13 upset on Dec. 27.
  • Ron Rivera, who got to Carolina in 2011 with Newton, has a 5-5 record against the Falcons.
  • Matt Ryan has completed 64.63% of his passes against the Panthers and has thrown 22 touchdowns to 13 interceptions.
  • Cam Newton has a 60.13% completion percentage against Atlanta and has thrown 15 touchdowns to 10 interceptions since arriving in Carolina.
  • Over the course of the rivalry, the Falcons average 26.9 points per game, while the Panthers only average 19.7 points per game.

The 43rd game in the Falcons-Panthers rivalry takes place Sunday in Atlanta at 1:00 p.m. and can be seen on FOX or heard on 92.9 The Game. Atlanta is currently a three-point underdog to the Panthers.

All stats and data are from or derived from pro-football-reference.com.