The Falcons couldn’t have asked for a better divisional opponent this week, if we’re being honest. The Saints are going to be pissed off, the Buccaneers are actually rolling, but the Panthers are in rough shape. Carolina’s going to be down most of their starting offensive line (small exaggeration at most), plus stud tight end Greg Olsen. Their offense should be putrid.
And it may need to be, because the Falcons are down two of their best defenders. Without Keanu Neal and Deion Jones, the Falcons will have to play much better run defense to hold this Carolina team in check, though they really shouldn’t have trouble through the air. Subtract Devonta Freeman or Andy Levitre and the offense has an uphill battle, too.
One of these two banged-up teams will emerge as a winner, however. It goes without saying that a Falcons loss would be very bad news for a team that has to play the Saints a week from now and isn’t getting Deion Jones back for weeks, while the Panthers could just hang an L on their injuries and move on at 1-1. It’s a critical home game for Atlanta, and one I both believe and pray they can win.
If you intend to watch it—and you do—here’s the critical information you’ll need to know.
Falcons vs. Panthers info
Time: Sunday, September 16, 1:00 p.m. EST
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
TV Channel: FOX
Announcers: Dan Hellie and Greg Jennings
Radio: 92.9 The Game
Odds: The Falcons are favored by a touchdown at home
Prediction: Falcons win, 23-17
Key Questions: Can Duke Riley and Damontae Kazee step up and play at a high level against Carolina? Will the Panthers be able to run against this defense in a way they weren’t able to a year ago, especially on December 31? Will the offense for the Falcons look better than the dumpster fire we saw against Philadelphia?
SB Nation Opposition Site: Cat Scratch Reader
2018 Falcons Schedule
Week 1: Falcons @ Eagles, Thursday Night Football - NFL Opener September 6 8:20 p.m.
Week 2: Falcons vs. Panthers, Sunday September 16 1:00 p.m.
Week 3: Falcons vs. Saints, Sunday September 23 1:00 p.m.
Week 4: Falcons vs. Bengals, Sunday September 30 1:00 p.m.
Week 5: Falcons @ Steelers, Sunday October 7 1:00 p.m.
Week 6: Falcons vs. Buccaneers, Sunday October 14 1:00 p.m.
Week 7: Falcons vs. Giants, Monday Night Football October 22 8:15 p.m.
Week 8: BYE WEEK
Week 9: Falcons @ Redskins, Sunday November 4 1:00 p.m.
Week 10: Falcons @ Browns, Sunday November 11 1:00 p.m.
Week 11: Falcons vs. Cowboys, Sunday November 18 1:00 p.m.
Week 12: Falcons @ Saints, Thursday Night Football - Thanksgiving November 22 8:20 p.m.
Week 13: Falcons vs. Ravens, Sunday December 2 1:00 p.m.
Week 14: Falcons @ Packers, Sunday December 9 1:00 p.m.
Week 15: Falcons vs. Cardinals, Sunday December 16 1:00 p.m.
Week 16: Falcons @ Panthers, Sunday December 23 1:00 p.m.
Week 17: Falcons @ Buccaneers, Sunday December 30 1:00 p.m.