Given Carolina’s status as arguably the worst team in the NFL, that line might be a bit surprising. Until you realize that this is the Falcons we’re talking about, who have lost to the other teams in the current running for worst in the NFL in the Arizona Cardinals and Washington Commanders.
Atlanta had a golden opportunity to take commanding control of the NFC South with a Week 14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but squandered it in a messy, mistake-heavy game on offense. That’s opened the door for both the Bucs and the Saints to challenge, with the Bucs the current leader given the standings and tiebreakers.
Obviously, any path to the playoffs for the Falcons involves a win over the Panthers this week. Atlanta came away with a 24-10 victory in the first meeting of these teams back in Week 1 to reach their first winning record since the 2017 season. Unfortunately, the Falcons early-season success hasn’t translated, and the team is currently sitting at a disappointing 6-7.
The Panthers are currently sitting at 30th in scoring and 31st in scoring defense, so I certainly hope the Falcons can find a way to take care of business this week. If not, the only path to the playoffs likely involves Atlanta winning out over the final 3 games.
Per DraftKings Sportsbook, the over/under currently sits at 35 points, with Atlanta -162 in the moneyline.