The Atlanta Falcons, despite a rough start to their season, took sole control of the NFC South by besting the New Orleans Saints in Week 3. The Saints are still winless as a result, and now the Falcons have a golden opportunity to take a big lead in the division as they play host to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
The two teams will face off from the Georgia Dome with kickoff set for just after 1 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on FOX, with a live stream available online via FOX Sports GO if the game is being served to your local market.
Last season, the Panthers finished the regular season with a 15-1 record and made it all the way to the Super Bowl. They were favored against the Denver Broncos in said Super Bowl, but lost the game and now seem to be experiencing something of a Super Bowl hangover.
Carolina is 1-2 on the season, with their lone win being against the lowly San Francisco 49ers. They lost their Super Bowl rematch against the Broncos in Week 1, and were dominated by the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3. They now face three consecutive NFC South opponents, and cannot afford to lose any games, let alone one against the Falcons, the current leaders in the division.
Atlanta suffered a surprising loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, but own quality wins over the Oakland Raiders and Saints in their past two games. They put up 35 points against the Raiders and 45 points against the Saints. The troubling issue is the fact that they have allowed 91 points in three games this season.
If not for the fact that New Orleans has a terrible defense themselves, the Falcons probably would have lost that game. Atlanta’s defense ranks 30th in the league in yards allowed, and 28th in the league in points allowed. Meanwhile, the Panthers come out ranked third in the league in yards allowed.
Offensively, the Falcons can certainly put up the numbers. Matt Ryan has looked great this season and he’s getting plenty of help from Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman at the running back position. Atlanta ranks first in the league in total offense, with Carolina coming in at 9th under Cam Newton.
Points per game creates the biggest disparity, with Atlanta leading the league at 34.7 points per game, while Carolina ranks 12th with 25.3. Carolina’s offense has looked sluggish and ineffective at times this season, and the Atlanta defense might be just what they’re looking for to get back in the swing of things.
Newton wants to get star receiver Kelvin Benjamin involved more in the passing game. He went all of last season without Benjamin, who had two touchdown catches in Week 2. But Benjamin saw only one target and caught no passes in Week 3 against the Vikings.
Below is all you need to know to watch Sunday’s game.
How to Watch Panthers vs. Falcons on Sunday
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.
Announcers: Dick Stockton, Chris Spielman, Kristina Pink
Online Streaming: Sunday Ticket, FOX Sports GO