Welcome to the pre-game, quick hit, stats-apalooza. This is a broad, statistical overview of the current Atlanta Falcons' opponent. This week, it's the Carolina Panthers as the I-85 Rivalry is renewed for the first time this season. The Falcons will fly (though they could drive) Northeast 222 miles to play the Panthers at Bank of America Stadium, previously known as Ericsson Stadium and Carolinas Stadium but you can call it The Bank or The BOA or even BOFA if you'd like to fit in with the locals.
This game marks the second leg of a three-game road trip for the Falcons. They beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 28-24, last week and after the Panthers this week, they'll travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks at Qwest Field in Week 15. They return home Dec. 27 against the New Orleans Saints in a showdown that could decide the NFC South title and possibly homefield advantage in the NFC. In the meantime though, let's learn a little bit about our hosts.
The Panthers mascot is Sir Purr, "a black panther-like figure" who enjoys snacking on "Falcons, Eagles and Seahawks." Even if you aren't as fascinated by mascots as I am, you should remember Sir Purr.
The Panthers have six active players over 30 years of age but even more impressive is John Kasay, who's still around at 88 years old. The Falcons have 12 players older than 30, with Tony Gonzalez leading the way with 13 years in the league.
SERIES HISTORY: Since the Mike Smith era began, the Falcons are 2-2 against the Panthers. Over those last four games, the average score has been Falcons 25.3, Panthers 25.0. These two teams have always played each other tough but that's about the most drama I can pretend to build between a 10-2 team and a 1-11 team.
Falcons Vs. Panthers
This will be the 31st time the Falcons have played the Panthers. The Falcons lead the all-time series 18-12.
The Falcons record against the Panthers (by decade):
- 2000s ...13-7
- 1990s ...5-5
- 1980s ...0-0
- 1970s ...0-0
- 1960s ...0-0
Average Score Since 2008:
- Falcons 25.3
- Panthers 25.0
Average Yards Since 2008:
- Falcons 357.8
- Panthers 407.3
Most Points Scored:
Falcons 51, Oct. 4, 1998
Highlight: The Falcons forced six turnovers and Jamal Anderson ran for 117 yards in a 51-23 rout.
Panthers 44, Jan. 1, 2006
Fewest Points Scored:
Falcons, 3, Twice, Most recently on Dec. 24, 2006
Panthers 0, Twice, Falcons outscored the Panthers 71-0 in 2002.
- The Panthers have won two in a row against the Falcons four different times with the most recent between 2008 and 2009.
- The Falcons won six in a row between 200 and 2002.
Mike Smith is 30-15 as Falcons head coach and is 0-2 in Week 14 games all-time. He is 3-4 against the Panthers all-time including his time as a member of the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Best Individual Performances Against the Panthers:
- Passing: Joey Harrington, 361 yards, 2007
- Rushing: Michael Vick, 141 yards, 2003
- Receiving: Roddy White, 127 yards, 2007
- Sacks: Chris Doleman, 3.5, 1995