The Falcons have been favored just once this season, and they lost that initial game against the Buccaneers. Perhaps being the underdog will wind up suiting them this year.
Against Carolina, the line makes a lot of sense, frankly. The Panthers are smarting after rough losses to the Broncos and Vikings, but those are arguably two of the better teams in football, both boasting relentless pass rushes that crushed Cam Newton again and again. The Falcons are basically punchless on that front, have very little to recommend them on defense generally, and haven’t had to face the kind of pass rush Carolina can bring to the table yet. Atlanta’s sole advantages are their offense, which looks like it might be legitimately potent even against a team as good as Carolina, and the fact that they’re playing at home.
You can understand why the Falcons are three point underdogs, then, and while I’ll hope Vegas is way off here, this is the greatest test of the Falcons’ mettle yet. May they rise up.