NFL Football
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Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Atlanta 13 7 3 10 33
Carolina 0 3 10 3 16
10:00 AM PT11:00 AM MT12:00 PM CT1:00 PM ET18:00 GMT2:00 AM 北京时间11:00 AM MST1:00 PM EST12:00 PM CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:� , December 24, 2016
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina  Weather: 56°, Cloudy  Attendance: 73,549

Falcons' high-octane offense sets sights on Panthers

According to STATS
According to STATS

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers

  1. The last time the Falcons and Panthers squared off was Week 4 in Atlanta, when the teams combined for 40 points in the fourth quarter (the most combined points in any quarter this season) in the Falcons' 48-33 win. The 81 combined points for the game were the fourth most in each team's history, and the most in a Falcons-Panthers matchup all-time.
  2. Atlanta beat the 49ers at home last week, 41-13, marking the second time this season that the Falcons have scored 40+ points in back-to-back games (also Weeks 3-4). No other NFL team has scored 40+ in back-to-back games even once this season, and Atlanta had done so just once in its history before this season (Weeks 5-6 in 1973).
  3. Carolina beat Washington, 26-15, at FedEx Field on Monday night. The Panthers have now won back-to-back games by double digits after having just two wins by double digits total in their first 12 games of the season.
  4. In the two teams' Week 4 meeting, Matt Ryan threw for a franchise-record 503 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Ryan has a 129.5 passer rating in four divisional games this season, and he has thrown 12 touchdown passes to just one interception. The 129.5 rating and 12 touchdowns in divisional games both lead the NFL.
  5. Cam Newton threw for 300 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in last week's win at Washington. It marked the first time this season, and only the fourth time in his career, that Newton has thrown for at least 300 yards without an interception.
  6. Jonathan Stewart ran for 132 yards in Monday's win, his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, and his most rushing yards in a game since Week 14 of the 2014 season. During his career, the Panthers are 15-1 when Stewart runs for 100+ yards (including postseason), the second-best record by any player in NFL history, minimum 15 games (Chuck Foreman: 20-1).
Team Comparison

33.5 Points 24.1
310.9 Pass Yds 251.9
116.7 Rush Yds 111.9
19 Takeaways 25

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The roles are reversed for this year's late-season meeting between the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers.

The teams meet Saturday afternoon at Bank of America Stadium, where the Falcons have plenty at stake.

A year ago in the second-to-last game of the regular season, Atlanta delivered the first loss for Carolina, spoiling what had been a perfect season to date.

Now the Falcons (9-5) are clinging to first place in the NFC South, while the Panthers (6-8) are trying to avoid a last-place finish in the division.

"We've done some pretty good things," Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan said. "I think we're good enough to win every week. ... We've got good, competitive players. We've got guys who aren't scared of the moment."

Ryan said the Falcons have performed well against some of the top defenses and it's paying off late in the season. Atlanta leads the NFL with 33.5 points per game, ranking second with 412.9 yards of total offense.

"I think we're starting to play our best football," Ryan said. "To me, it's going to be a tough one (at Carolina). We're going to have to play our best."

That's probably not what the Panthers wanted to hear. They gave up 571 yards to the Falcons in the October meeting.

"They are still a dynamic football team," Carolina coach Ron Rivera said. "They're explosive on offense."

It will be the home finale in what has been a challenging season for the Panthers, who have an extra-short week given their Monday night victory at Washington.

"We have to refocus," Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis said. "The Falcons are a different team than we just played on Monday night and we understand that. We've got to be ready for an extremely high-powered offense."

One of the big offensive outbursts for Atlanta came Oct. 2 in a 48-33 home victory against Carolina.

This time, the Panthers aren't likely to have Pro Bowl linebacker Luke Kuechly, who has missed four games since suffering a concussion. Although he has been cleared from the concussion protocol, it appears unlikely he'll play again this season.

"I think their defense, in general, had done a good job in his absence," Ryan said.

Despite an NFL-leading 40 sacks for the Panthers, the defense has been torched by opponents passing for 274.8 yards per game.

This game might be more than a divisional rivalry because of the roster makeups.

"We've got a lot of guys from the Atlanta area that do love Atlanta," Rivera said. "That's understandable. They want to be able to beat their home team to have a little bit of bragging rights. I think that's part of it."

Quarterback Cam Newton is one of the Carolina players with deep Atlanta connections.

Last season, Newton was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player. Now, Ryan's name ends up in those MVP conversations.

Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said Ryan already had been among the special group of quarterbacks, so to move higher on that list is a worthy accomplishment.

"For him to take it to another spot, it takes a lot of work," Quinn said.

Ryan said with the Falcons pursuing a playoff spot, there's no sense being distracted by MVP talk.

"I don't think about it all that much," he said. "It's really nice to be mentioned in that. For me, it's about the success of the team and trying to win games. I find a lot of enjoyment in that."

Falcons running back Devonta Freeman was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after scoring three touchdowns against San Francisco. He finished with 139 rushing yards on 20 carries.

"I think when you look at the guys that are around Matt right now, man, the way they've been running their offense," Davis said. "He has gotten comfortable in the new system and it's showing."

The Panthers, who are aiming for a three-game winning streak for the first time this season, continue to count on Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen as one of the centerpieces of their offense. He needs 8 receiving yards to become the first NFL tight end with three consecutive seasons of 1,000 yards, though he has missed practice time this week with a sore elbow.

"You'd better have awareness for where Greg is at," Quinn said.

Some of the Falcons' concerns might be eased with cornerback Jalen Collins available at practice this week.

Updated December 21, 2016

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