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What if the Falcons win/lose against the Carolina Panthers (part 2)

The Falcons can continue asserting their dominance over Carolina

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

This season really sucks. The Falcons sit at 3-9 and have to stand idly by as the playoff race in the NFC gets closer to reaching its climax. This week the Falcons play their fifth consecutive division game, and second against the Carolina Panthers. The schedule makers probably thought that this would be an exciting race down the stretch in the NFC South.

It’s that time of the week again — the game is close to 24 hours from kicking off, and football fever is nearing its peak (OK, not really).

Let’s take a look at the hypotheticals of this game — what if the Falcons win and move their record to 4-9? What if they lose and fall to 3-10?

If the Falcons win

They’ll have completed a sweep against the Carolina Panthers for the second year in a row, and for the third time in the past four seasons. Matt Ryan would bring his career record against the Panthers to an impressive 16-8. And the Falcons would move to 8-1 against Carolina since getting demolished 38-0 in Charlotte in 2015.

A victory would likely eliminate the Panthers from playoff contention overall as early as this weekend depending on other scores around the NFL. Carolina was already eliminated from division contention before playing their game last week.

More importantly, a win would hurt Atlanta’s draft positioning (we’re at that point now). The Falcons currently sit in line for the fifth overall selection if the draft were to happen today; moving to 4-9 could potentially drop them all the way to 10th depending on other scores.

If the Falcons lose

The chase for Chase Young will be alive and well, as Atlanta would potentially be able to jump as high as the third pick depending on other scores. While it’s unlikely that the Washington Redskins will beat the Packers, the suddenly red hot Miami Dolphins play a Jets team that just handed Cincinnati its first win — there’s a very real shot of Atlanta surpassing the Dolphins into the No. 4 draft slot.

Carolina will get a feel-good win in their first game since firing head coach Ron Rivera. Their very meager playoff hopes will continue to live on life support for another week. The Panthers will also continue their fight against the hot Tampa Bay Buccaneers for second place in the division.

It seems rather inevitable, but a loss would mark Atlanta’s first double-digit losing season since that 4-12 campaign in 2013. They looked like they would achieve this last year, but then ended up rattling off three consecutive wins to close out the season.