ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 9: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons passes against the Green Bay Packers at the Georgia Dome on October 9, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Atlanta is a narrow home favorite going into a must-win divisional game against Carolina this weekend.
In a sign of how quickly things can change in the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons, a year after a dominating 13-3 season, opened the week as only -5.5 home favorites against the Carolina Panthers, widely projected to be one of the NFL's worst teams.
But with Atlanta already matching the number of losses they had all last year and Carolina's Cam Newton the talk of the NFL, the line has moved even closer to the Panthers as the week has progressed. The Falcons are currently favored by on only four points.
The over/under is at 51, as both teams have shown themselves capable of scoring and giving up points in bunches. Atlanta has the league's 28th rated pass defense, a huge concern going against the aerial show Newton, who averages over 300 yards of passing a game, has put on this year.
The Panthers defense has already given up 132 points this season, tied for fifth worst in the NFL, which should present an opportunity for Atlanta's corps of offensive stars -- QB Matt Ryan, RB Michael Turner and WR Roddy White -- to recapture their magic from last season.