The first divisional game of the year has arrived, and it only took until Week 9 of the season to arrive. Our patience will hopefully be rewarded with a win.
The opponent this week, of course, is none other than the Carolina Panthers. These two teams do not like one another, to state the obvious, and have each delivered a lopsided beatdown or two to the other team in the last few years. That includes Atlanta’s annihilation a year ago, when Julio Jones nabbed 300 yards in a single game, and the late 2014 shellacking by Carolina that ensured Mike Smith would be fire. That’s a roundabout way of saying that these games tend to be fairly wild and unpredictable, and given that it’s difficult to tell just how good either of these teams are, we can expect more of the same.
To win, Atlanta will have to prey on what has been a pretty weak Carolina offense, and hope they can generate enough offense to get by a very stout Panthers defense. If they can do it, though, they’ll strike a blow to a key division rival and put themselves in a strong position in the NFC South for at least another week. Let’s get it, and here’s what you need to know.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Week 9
Time: Sunday, November 5th, 1:00 p.m. EST
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
TV Channel: FOX
Announcers: Booth: Joe Buck & Troy Aikman oh no
Radio: 92.9 The Game
Odds: The Falcons are underdogs by 1.5 points
Prediction: Falcons lose, 24-23
Key Questions: Will the Panthers offense be able to open things up without Kelvin Benjamin? Can the Falcons’ run defense keep the good times rolling against a weak opponent? Will the Panthers defense dominate Atlanta’s offense, or merely inconvenience it?
SB Nation Opposition Site: Cat Scratch Reader