Falcons 38 - Panthers 23
The farther we’ve gotten into this season, the more we have seen the Panthers success reliant solely on Cam Newton. If he’s on, the Falcons will be in for a tough fight. The problem is he’s rarely been on during an entire game. That defense is terribly overrated and the offense is too streaky to be too concerned. It’s always tough playing in the division, but these Panthers have been dead all season.
Falcons 30 - Panthers 28
This is the game the Panthers have had circled on their calendars for some time now. They were embarrassed early in the season and they could feasibly cause the Falcons to lose the division. That's why this game is extremely concerning. The Falcons defense is still not great, and we'll be down to practically our last tight ends. There's no guarantee Julio will make it through the whole game, too. I expect the Panthers best effort of the season in this game...but my Falcons colored glasses tell me it won't be quite enough.
Falcons 24 - Panthers 21
Division games almost always go off script. While the Panthers secondary is no match for the Falcons on paper, I think they will play above their heads in this game. Carolina will also use Jonathan Stewart to play “keep away,” which will limit how much time our offense has on the field. Even with that, it won’t be enough, as the Falcons offense is just too talented to keep down for too long. I think Newton will be harassed in the pocket, limiting their offense just enough to give the Falcons the narrow victory.
Falcons 30- Panthers 27
Jonathan Stewart’s resurgence could spark an upset. The undersized front seven has struggled against physical running backs. Stewart is capable of breaking tackles, particularly with his notorious stiff arm. He will likely find the end zone, but it won’t be enough against a powerhouse offense. Julio Jones is making his long-awaited return. Carolina’s defense is playing more disciplined, but Jones can break open any secondary. With Adrian Clayborn and Jalen Collins returning, the defense should make enough plays to secure a playoff spot. Look for Clayborn, Vic Beasley, and Dwight Freeney to harass Cam Newton.
Falcons 34 - Panthers 27
The Falcons dominated the Panthers during the majority of their Week 4 match-up in Atlanta, but we shouldn’t necessarily expect that again. This is going to be Carolina’s Super Bowl--they will be going all out to play spoiler and keep the Falcons from clinching a playoff berth. Still, this Panthers team has been defined by inconsistency and are completely incapable of playing from behind. I expect a much closer game than the last time these two teams met, but Atlanta is simply the better team and should come away with a hard-fought victory.
Falcons 35 - Panthers 27
Atlanta’s in need of this win, which would propel them to their first playoff berth since 2012. I think they won’t lack motivation, that they’re good enough to beat the Panthers, and that they will. End of story.