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Falcons - Panthers final score predictions from The Falcoholic staff

We’re an optimistic bunch this week, somehow.

NFL: DEC 23 Falcons at Panthers Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Falcons won last week. Are we insufferably and unjustly confident now?

Hell yeah. Well, some of us.

Falcons 21 - Panthers 18

Who can even predict this team? I expected the Falcons to lose against the spread (12 to 14 points) against the Saints. Instead, they won by 17. The same team gave Marcus Mariota his best game of the season before he was benched. Is this a team the Falcons can win? Absolutely. The Panthers run defense is nonexistent, their starting quarterback is a decent but limited Cam Newton replacement, and Ron Rivera looks almost certain to be fired. If the Falcons can keep Carolina’s stout pass rush off of Matt Ryan and slow down Christian McCaffery, they can win it. Of course, neither of those are guaranteed. - Matt Chambers

Panthers 24 - Falcons 17

I don’t mean to end the good times, but I think the Falcons are going to have a really hard time containing Christian McCaffrey and getting its offense going on the road a second week in a row with Austin Hooper and Devonta Freeman out. The Panthers are a pretty good football team, and they’re hosting, which doesn’t help the Falcons’ cause at all. The Falcons erupted last week after weeks of doldrums, so you wonder if it’s just a flash in the pan or a sign of something more. I think they’ll certainly look better than they have in the past and just lose this one the old fashioned way. It’s nothing to be super ashamed of, all things considered. I think they’ll show something, even if it’s not enough to win. - Cory Woodroof

Falcons 27 - Panthers 21

Atlanta’s victory over the Saints on the road showed us that they can still play four quarters of quality football. I don’t expect them to every week the rest of the way—that’d be way too much to ask this year—but I do think they can do it again versus the Panthers.

Carolina has plenty of talent but is still just an average-looking football team at the end of the day, and one that Dan Quinn has historically had quite a bit of success against. Minus Cam Newton and with a poor run defense and banged up secondary, this Panthers team isn’t good enough to beat the Falcons firing on all cylinders. The big question is whether they can fire on all cylinders for the second straight week on the road. - Dave Choate

Falcons 27 - Panthers 24

Look, I know I picked the Panthers earlier this week, but after thinking back on the win over the Saints last Sunday, I just don’t see a way the Falcons drop this one. The Panthers run defense is a weakness, and even though Christian McCaffrey is exceptional, if the Falcons can take a lead early, they’ve got a shot to win this one. A Younghoe Koo game-winning field goal is my bold prediction. - Jeanna Thomas