When the Atlanta Falcons (10-2) finally play the Carolina Panthers (1-11) this Sunday, it will represent two teams on the opposite ends of the NFL spectrum. The Panthers have only won once this season - a three-point victory over the San Francisco 49ers - while the Falcons have only lost once (in regulation). It walks like a blowout and it talks like a blowout. Let's see if the experts are bold enough to proclaim as such.
|ESPN Consensus||Falcons||Nobody believes the Falcons will overlook the 1-11 Panthers. All 10 experts like Atlanta to win their 11th game of the year.|
|Yahoo Sports Consensus||Falcons||I'm sensing a theme here but all four experts are backing the Falcons.|
|CBS Sports Consensus||Falcons||I'm starting to wonder if the Panthers will use any of this as bulletin board material. It may not matter as all five experts like the Falcons on Sunday.|
|Fanhouse||Falcons||Dave Goldberg predicts the Falcons to cover a 7.5 point spread, 27-10.|
|What If Sports||Falcons||The Falcons won over 75 percent of the simulations with an average score of 22 to 14. As I said before, the computer loves the "rarely-found in real NFL action" number 22.|
|Sports Illustrated||Falcons||Peter King: Atlanta's final four games are bookended by matches against the 1-11 Panthers. Sweet. How exactly does Atlanta lose home-field in the NFC? Falcons 27, Panthers 10.|
|USA Today||Falcons||All eight experts project the Falcons into victory circle with four of them making this game their "lock of the week."|
|Sporting News||Falcons||Six of the seven experts pick the Falcons to win but don't get worried. The seventh didn't pick the Panthers but rather has yet to make his pick at all.|
|SB Nation||Falcons||Joel Thorman: The Falcons will likely get to 11 wins this weekend and one step closer to winning the NFC South.|
|SBN Philly||Falcons||Jason Brewer: To be honest, I don't know why this line is so low. This is the best team in the NFC against the worst team in the NFL. The Falcons aren't quite as good on the road as they are at home, but they're good enough to top the Panthers by more than a TD.|
|Battle Red Blog||Falcons||TexansDC: I'm not a fan of Atlanta. I think they're a bit overrated, but I'm not picking Carolina. Falcons win 26-6.|
|SBN Atlanta||Falcons||Josh Massey: I'll be making my way up to Charlotte for my second Falcons road game of the year - but unlike early-season, sunny Pittsburgh, North Carolina will be less welcoming. The forecast predicts a high in the mid-40s, and rain throughout (which will be turning to snow as I leave town). It'll be interesting to see how Matt Ryan reacts to the elements, since it's no secret he prefers the indoors. Expect a heavy dose of Michael Turner, and probably a sloppy game - but this team ain't losing to Jimmy Clausen.|
As expected, no one is betting their mortgage on the Panthers. The rest of the NFC has to be irritated at the Falcons end of season schedule. Two games against the Panthers in four weeks with a trip to Seattle in between gives the Falcons one of the easiest roads to 13-3. A win over the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night in Week 16 would set a team-record with 14 victories in the regular season. I'm not complaining though. The Falcons have played an absolutely brutal schedule so far which is the primary reason they are number one in the unbiased power rankings. A blowout win would be nice to see this week but the Falcons lead the NFL in one-score wins this season so a 20-17 game is more likely.