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Falcons vs Panthers: Preview

December 11, 2015, Troy, NY  The Atlanta Falcons at 6-6 face the Carolina Panthers at 12-0 in an NFC South clash. Carolina is the lone undefeated NFL squad, rallying from a 14-0 1st quarter deficit to win 41-38 over the Saints in New Orleans. QB Cam Newton passed for 5 TDs, including the game winner to WR Jericho Cotchery with 1:05 remaining. The Panthers defense experienced an off day versus the Saints. CB Ben Benwikere has started in place of Charles “Peanut” Tillman, who is questionable after missing the past two games. Special teamer Colin Jones has struggled in coverage versus slot receivers and CB Cortland Finnegan was signed after “retiring” during the offseason. Rookie WR Devin Funchess has provided an offensive spark, catching 3 TDs in the past 4 games.

Atlanta has lost 4 in a row and 6 of 7, after starting the season 5-0. The lone victory was a 10-7 win versus the Titans. QB Matt Ryan has struggled with turnovers and admitted to struggling with Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s playbook. RB Devonta Freeman has provided a scoring punch with 9 TDs. First year head coach Dan Quinn, was hired after a stint as defensive coordinator for the Seahawks during consecutive Super Bowl appearances. Quinn was supposed to shore up the Falcons’ defensive deficiencies, though they persist.

The key matchup is between Falcons WR Julio Jones and  Panthers CB Josh Norman. Jones is among the best at his position, and Norman is a shutdown corner. Last season Jones was limited to 10 catches without a TD in two meetings last season.

Per Scoresandodds.com, the Panthers opened at -7 and are currently -8 as home favorites.

Kickoff is scheduled for 1pm EST from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC.

The game will be broadcast by Fox.

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