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Falcons - Panthers final score roundtable for Week 5

Who wins?

Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

This week, the Falcons are playing maybe their most winnable game of the year thus far on paper, facing off against a solid but largely unspectacular Carolina Panthers team at home. The staff is pretty split on exactly who is going to win this one, as you’d imagine, because some of us are easily seduced by matchups.

Falcons 28 - Panthers 24

This may be the last time this year I pick Atlanta to win a game, but this one feels like the “save Dan Quinn” special. The players still love this coach and despite their horrid performances of late, there’s reason to think they can improve, even if just slightly. It looks like the team will get back A.J. Terrell, Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen which should improve the secondary. Likewise, this is a Panthers team that Matt Ryan has played very well against throughout his career and particularly under Dan Quinn. I don’t think this will save the season or turn it around, but this feels like a desperation game where the team barely pulls it out and gives us enough hope to crush us again. - David Walker

Panthers 35 - Falcons 27

I have yet to see anything over the course of the last three weeks to convince me that the Falcons could even turn things around against a team that they have defeated in eight of the last nine meetings, including the last five. Injuries have piled up literally everywhere and mentally, this team is in a fog. The Panthers are a tricky team. Their defense is 10th overall, seventh against the pass, and sixth in takeaways per game. Veteran QB Teddy Bridgewater is third in the league in completion percentage. Even without Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers are fresh off a 168-yard rushing performance against the Cardinals last week. Maybe this is the week they turn things around. Or maybe this is a week where a flat start after a Monday night letdown leads to an 0-5 start and the roller coaster taking another downward spiral. - Eric Robinson

Falcons 27 - Panthers 24

Dan Quinn hasn’t been good at many things as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons the past three seasons, but if there is one thing he’s been consistently positive at it’s beating the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons are 9-2 against Carolina since Quinn took over 2015, and this is a team that Matt Ryan and company have consistently feasted against since 2016. Yes, there’s a new coaching staff at the helm, but don’t forget they also lost all-world linebacker Luke Kuechly to retirement and they don’t boast the scary offensive talent of Cam Newton’s heyday any longer. I’m not expecting a blowout by any means, but this is maybe the team I’m most confident in the Falcons beating given recent history. - Adnan Ikic

Panthers 28 - Falcons 27

Maybe I’m just jaded, but what seems like the likelier outcome: The Falcons getting pretty healthy at last and winning a game at home in front of a small but appreciative crowd, or the Falcons getting pretty healthy at last and narrowly losing a game they will likely lead in front of a small but deeply bummed out crowd? The way this season has gone (and the season before that, and the season before that), it seems obvious that the Falcons should be assumed to emerging on the wrong side of a close game than the right side, and I’m just not willing to put much stock in this team until they actually win a game. Gloomy but true. - Dave Choate

Panthers 24 - Falcons 21

This should be a game the Falcons win — Heading to 0-5 is just unfathomable. Yet, last week was another opportunity to avoid 0-4. The Packers were missing some top players and had major question marks on defense, yet the Falcons quickly proved they were still sleepwalking through this lost season. The only hope is the Panthers are somehow bad enough to get beat by this bad Falcons team. However, after a big win against the Arizona Cardinals, it doesn’t seem like that is going to happen. - Matt Chambers