After a tough 17-10 loss to the Houston Texans last week, the Atlanta Falcons desperately need a win at Carolina this weekend to stay in the NFC playoff picture.
But if the odds makers are correct, it won't be easy, as Atlanta is favored by only -2.5 points against a 4-8 Panthers squad.
The Falcons 3rd-rated rush defense will be tested by a versatile Carolina rushing attack that features three different players -- QB Cam Newton, RB Jonathan Stewart and RB DeAngelo Williams -- with over 500 yards rushing on at least 4.8 yards per carry.
In Atlanta's 31-17 victory over the Panthers earlier in the season, their defense baited Newton into throwing three interceptions. The explosive rookie QB has thrown for 3,297 yards this season, but like most rookie QB's, his decision-making process is still a little suspect, and he's thrown one more INT (14) than TD (13) this season.
Falcons RB Michael Turner, meanwhile, had a huge game against Carolina's 27th-rated rush defense, racking up 139 yards and 2 TD's on 4.7 yards per carry.
QB Matt Ryan didn't have to do much, completing 14/22 passes for 163 yards and 1 TD.
With two explosive offenses going head-to-head, the over/under for Sunday's game is 48.5