The Falcons are riding a two game winning streak and have won three of their past four games, and they’re coming up on another manageable matchup today. The question, as always, is what they’ll be able to do with said matchup.
You’ll find our predictions below, and they range from somewhat comfortable win to very narrow win.
Falcons 27 - Panthers 20
Part of me is itching to predict a blowout, but I know better in a divisional matchup. The Panthers crashed to earth and are still tunneling downward into the Earth’s molten core, while the Falcons are at least piecing a few things together, and at home and with Carolina not getting much of a breather after an ugly loss to the Giants I genuinely like Atlanta’s chances of coming away with the win here. The biggest question marks concern their offense getting past a tough Panthers D, especially that front, and ensuring they take advantage of Sam Darnold’s inevitable mistakes, but I’m confident they’ll manage.
Confidence eight weeks into an NFL season? About the Falcons? Strange times. -Dave Choate
Falcons 28 - Panthers 24
The Sam Darnold redemption tour starts in Atlanta, but it won’t be enough to get them the win. I’m all-in on this Falcons offense right now and I also believe we’ll see Calvin Ridley put up his best performance of the season. He has historically played very well against the Panthers and this seems like a good time for him to kick it into gear. Carolina has a good defense, but the two good offenses they faced (Cowboys, Vikings) both scored 30+ on them. Unfortunately, I think this will be close due to our dreadful pass rush. Darnold will have enough time to pretend to be a legitimate QB and guys like D.J. Moore will probably have career days. Either way, Atlanta moves to a winning record for the first time since 2017. - David Walker
Falcons 30 - Panthers 27
As poorly as Carolina has played in recent weeks, this is going to be a tricky matchup. Shaq Thompson could be returning for Carolina. The long-awaited debut of Stephon Gilmore could be happening as well. Carolina’s defense will be a sturdy test for Arthur Smith’s resurgent offense. You have to think their coaching staff will be structuring their game plan around containing Kyle Pitts. That will create opportunities for others, including Calvin Ridley, who desperately needs to clean up his consistent basic errors. It’s going to be a battle with explosive plays being created on both sides of the ball. Sam Darnold is normally due for a colossal mistake or two. Whether it’s A.J. Terrell or Jaylinn Hawkins, one of them will make the difference. The Falcons will pull this out thanks to another efficient game from Matt Ryan and a few timely plays from the defense. - Allen Strk
Falcons 27 - Panthers 23
A few days ago, I had a different outlook. I stated on Falcoholic Live that they would lose and lose by double digits. I compare this prediction to the gif of the young chef that puts a handful of fries cautiously into a boiling pot only to watch it engulf in flames and he runs out of the kitchen screaming. I was timid to predict the team would beat the Dolphins and here I am again, scared to death.
The Panthers defense is full of athletes at all three levels that can make things complex for a Falcons offense that is depending heavily on a rookie tight end while lacking a true run game. I do believe Pitts will make a few plays but I also believe that a key puzzle piece on offense will generate a couple of big plays that will prove to be the difference. I do believe good Sam Darnold will appear but bad Darnold will make a fourth quarter appearance and ruin a good thing for Carolina. - Eric Robinson
Falcons 33 - Panthers 24
The Atlanta Falcons offense really is starting to come into its own with Matt Ryan playing some of his best football in years and opposing defenses still trying to find ways to slow down Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson. If the Falcons can awaken route king Calvin Ridley, maintain stasis on the OL and keep spreading the ball around, they really might keep growing like a weed. It’s the defense that concerns you, but the Falcons host a crashing Carolina Panthers who look listles after a 3-0 start.
The Falcons offense has only held an opponent to less than 20 points once this season (New York Giants), so you figure the Panthers will be able to get some points if the pass rush continues to be a struggle. It’ll be important for the Falcons defense to take advantage of Sam Darnold’s inconsistencies and the Panthers’ so-so offensive line. They should be able to outpace the Panthers on offense, though, getting the team to a 4-3 record and likely irresponsible dreams of playing in January. - Cory Woodroof
Falcons 31 - Panthers 17
This should be a “get right” game for either Sam Darnold or the Falcons defense. Considering the direction both sides have been trending, I’m betting this will be the Falcons. After all, the Panthers are missing Christian McCaffrey, their offensive line has been struggling, and, as mentioned... Darnold. Carolina can only rely on their defense so much, and there is still a good chance a lot of that defense misses the game. Falcons have been rolling (as much as a team with this roster can roll) and I anticipate that to continue. This is another opportunity for a big win that the team lets get a little too close. - Matt Chambers