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A petty rooting interests guide and picks for Falcons vs. Panthers and other Week 16 games

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Will the Saints offense stay broken this week? Fingers crossed.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons came away with a big win last week against the Cardinals, but they face a tougher test this week on the road against the Panthers. Sure, Cam Newton isn’t playing, but if you’ve watched the Falcons at all this season, you know what I mean.

And it doesn’t matter if they lose. It’ll mean a higher draft pick in a lost season. The Panthers are essentially in the same boat, and if Cam Newton is shut down the rest of the season, what is the point? This Sunday’s matchup is truly an exercise in futility.

But we’re all still going to watch, and if you still have the emotional energy to care about the outcome of these games, allow me to help you with the pettiest rooting interests guide possible. Spoiler alert: We’re rooting against the Saints.

Falcons vs. Panthers

What a disaster of a season. This one really could go either way, with Newton out and Julio a game-time decision. It just doesn’t matter, honestly. Let’s escape the next two weeks with no injuries and hopefully some dignity intact. If you want a higher draft pick, root against the Falcons. If you don’t want to see your team lose to some rando backup quarterback, root for the Falcons. I won’t judge either way.

Staff picks:

Falcons: Matt, Adnan, Carter, Cory, Evan, James

Panthers: DW, Eric, Jeanna, Dave

Ravens vs. Chargers

Why did I come up with the idea for this dang series at the end of the season when the Falcons are bad and everything is so annoying? Say the Saints make it to the Super Bowl, and the Chargers just happen to be the AFC team that meets them in Atlanta? Might as well root for the Chargers now to get a little practice.

Staff picks:

Chargers: Matt, DW, Eric, Adnan, Carter, Jeanna, Cory, Dave, Evan, James,

Buccaneers vs. Cowboys

The Buccaneers haven’t been good, but the defense has been better without Mike Smith — shocker. The Cowboys look dominant some weeks, like when they played the Falcons, and other weeks they get shut out by the Colts. What a weird season. Anyway, this one could go either way, but go Cowboys I guess.

Staff picks:

Buccaneers: Adnan

Cowboys: Matt, DW, Eric, Carter, Jeanna, Cory, Dave, Evan, James

Rams vs. Cardinals

The Rams are another team I’m preparing to pretend to be a lifelong fan of because I really desperately need to not watch the Saints win a Super Bowl in the Falcons’ stadium. Like, I already lived through Super Bowl LI. That was truly enough. Anyway, the Rams have been on a bit of a downward trajectory here lately but what better opportunity to bounce back than against the one team the Falcons have been able to beat in the last six weeks. Hopefully they’ll get some momentum this week and be ready to help the Saints to an early playoff exit.

Staff picks:

Rams: Matt, DW, Eric, Adnan, Carter, Jeanna, Cory, Dave, Evan, James

Bears vs. 49ers

Ah, my other new favorite playoff team, the Chicago Bears. The Bears defense may have the best shot at knocking the Saints out of the postseason, and I have no issue rooting for them against Kyle Shanahan’s Niners. Roll with Da Bears here.

Staff picks:

Bears: Matt, DW, Eric, Adnan, Carter, Jeanna, Cory, Dave, Evan, James

Steelers vs. Saints

Is this even a question? Even if it’s difficult to bring yourself to root for the Steelers, it’s worth it this week.

Staff picks:

Steelers: Matt, Eric, Adnan, Jeanna, Cory, Dave, James

Saints: DW, Carter, Evan