The Atlanta Flacons (6-9) and Carolina Panthers (6-8-1) will face off in what has become an NFC South Championship game. Despite both teams having sub-.500 records, the winner will make the playoffs and host a wildcard game next week.
Despite a pathetic 1-9 record against teams in the seven other divisions, the Falcons are a perfect 5-0 against NFC South teams this season. The Panthers, on the other hand, are on a three-game win streak.
Panthers vs. Falcons
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. Eastern
Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
Falcons by 3.5
Falcons 19, Panthers 17 on Nov. 16 in Charlotte
Cam Newton will be making his second start after suffering a back injury in a recent car accident. Last week, in a win against the Cleveland Browns, he passed for 201 yards, a touchdown and an interception. On the season he has passed for 3,013 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Carolina’s run game has gotten better in yardage lately, but not as much in scoring. Jonathan Stewart has 760 yards and three touchdowns on the season to go with Newton’s 488 yards and four touchdowns. With Newton’s injury, it can be expected that Stewart will get more carries than Newton will have designed runs, much like he did last week.
Matt Ryan has passed for 4,434 yards, 28 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season. Julio Jones has caught 100 receptions this season for 1,535 yards and 6 touchdowns in 14 games.
Steven Jackson has carried the bulk of the team’s run game this season with 707 yards and six touchdowns.
The Falcons have won every game against NFC South teams this season, but have only beaten the Arizona Cardinals in their non-divisional games.
Atlanta 27, Carolina 10
Julio Jones has been unbelievable recently. While his status for this game is uncertain, he has indicated that he intends to play. If he does, he will be quite the handful for the Carolina defense and will likely help Atlanta finish with a perfect divisional record and the NFC South title.
While the Panthers seem to be hot, coming into this game on a three game win streak, it has to be remembered that those three wins have come against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-13), New Orleans Saints (6-9) and Cleveland Browns (7-8). It is very likely that the streak will end in Atlanta.