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Falcons vs. Panthers Week 17 open thread, key info, and tracker

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The 9-6 Atlanta Falcons will try to win and get into the postseason as the #6 seed, but the Panthers undoubtedly have other ideas.

Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Falcons are lined up for either a storybook ending to 2017, or the culmination of a vaguely disappointing year. That’s a fancy way of saying they’re either going to the playoffs or ending the year at 9-7 and spending an offseason figuring out how to get better and dealing with deeply bitter fans. Fun, fun.

This is a matchup Atlanta can win on its best day, and if Carolina truly is down Trai Turner and decides to rest some starters, they may not even need their best day. They nearly beat the Panthers in Carolina earlier this year on a day where they couldn’t stop Cam Newton from running with the ball and Julio Jones dropped a wide open touchdown pass, so it’s not like this is an unbeatable team.

Of course, Atlanta will have to stop screwing up. When you come down to it, they’ve been undone countless times this year by mistakes that are almost unbelievable, like Devonta Freeman’s goal line fumble or the butt interception from a week ago. If both plays simply go Atlanta’s way, they might have won the game, and that’s sort of the story of this football team. They can put it together, but will they?

Also, why do we care so much if the Falcons are going to make the playoffs? Given their talent level, they could get this thing untracked and make a deep playoff run, so I want them to have the opportunity. They just need to take care of business today.

As always, use this as your open thread for the evening. Go Falcons!

Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Week 17

Time: Sunday, December 31, 4:25 p.m. EST

Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

TV Channel: FOX

Radio: 92.9 The Game

Odds: The Falcons are 3-4 point favorites, depending on who you ask

Prediction: Falcons win, 24-17

Key Questions: Will the Falcons win? Basically nothing else matters, given the stakes.

SB Nation Opposition Site: Cat Scratch Reader

Twitter: @TheFalcoholic