The Falcons lost and the Panthers won last week. There’s no spinning or denying that, and I won’t try to. I will, however, point out this:
- The Falcons lost 18-12 to the defending Super Bowl champion. The Panthers beat the Dallas Cowboys, who are missing their starting center and legitimately have no high-end options in the passing game, by a score of 16-8.
- The Falcons lost starting safety Keanu Neal and linebacker Deion Jones could be iffy for this upcoming game, which isn’t good. The Panthers re-lost starting tackle Daryl Williams after losing Matt Kalil, will lose Greg Olsen to a broken foot, and could be without receiver Curtis Samuel. Their offensive line is a legitimate mess.
- The Panthers put up the 5th-fewest yards in the NFL in the first week of the season against that lackluster Cowboys defense, while the Falcons held the Eagles to the 3rd-fewest yards, a full 60 less than Carolina put up.
The Falcons could absolutely lose this game. They could come out and muck things up like they’re so fond of doing, they could find that Carolina front seven impossible to deal with, and their defense might struggle to contain a potent rushing attack, especially with Keanu Neal and Deion Jones out. But nothing that happened Sunday minus the Falcons’ hilarious inability to score in the red zone suggests that outcome. It does suggest an ugly one, so buckle up for that.
I mention all this to explain why the Falcons are favored at home. They started out as four point favorites and the line is moving, as they were six point favorites late Tuesday when I wrote this. At home, licking their wounds and both healthier and arguably more talented than Carolina, they should win this one. They really should.
Now we’ll see if they can.