It’s not often that a football game comes along that involves two teams that have historically struggled to find their footing in the NFC South, but for the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers, this year has been different.
With the Carolina Panthers having beaten the Falcons in the divisional round of the playoffs, the Falcons are set to make the playoffs for the first time since 2003.
Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn talks with the media following the team’s season-ending win over the Green Bay Packers.
The Falcons are in the playoff picture for the third straight year.
They are playing the most potent offense in the NFL, and they have a dominant defense that has made it difficult for opponents to score points.
The Panthers have a strong roster and are currently No. 1 in the AFC South with a 4-1 record, but it has come down to the final five games.
Atlanta will have to get over that hump if it wants to secure a spot in the postseason.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (6) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2018, in Atlanta.
The Falcons won 37-14.
AP Photo/John BazemoreThe Falcons have a solid offensive line and are led by left tackle Duane Brown and wide receiver Julio Jones.
The line has been instrumental in keeping opposing quarterbacks off balance.
Atlanta is allowing only 20.5 points per game and is averaging 29.6 points per contest.
The team is also coming off a bye week, and it is the team that has been struggling to find its footing since the start of the season.
The team had a disappointing record of 7-8-1, and the losses have come against the Philadelphia Eagles and the New Orleans Saints.
Atlanta lost in the third round of last year’s playoffs to the Dallas Cowboys, who were the favorites to win the NFC East, but lost the rematch against the Cowboys in the conference championship game.
It’s the fourth time in six seasons that Atlanta has dropped a game in the playoffs.
The Carolina Panthers are a much-improved team, and head coach Ron Rivera has been an excellent coordinator.
He has an impressive roster and the team has been able to make significant strides on defense.
Carolina has allowed only 23.9 points per games and is allowing 28.4 points per contests.
The New Orleans Pelicans have the second-best record in the NBA, but are still looking to make a run in the East.
The Pelicans are ranked No. 9 in the Eastern Conference and have the seventh-best defense in the league.
The Pelicans are averaging 105.9 rushing yards per game, and that is tied for fourth-most in the country.
They have allowed the fewest points per possession (11.0).
The Pelicans will need to score more points against the Atlanta Hawks and Carolina Carolina Panthers to get a shot at making the postseason, but the team is doing a good job of keeping its head above water.