When the NFL’s 2018 schedule first came out, it seemed like a series of games among the Falcons, Saints, and Panthers would decide the NFC South and provide some of the more riveting games of the December slate.
But the Falcons faded early behind a wave of injuries. After another tough loss Monday night, the Panthers’ hopes for a wild card slot are on life support.
Of course, the Panthers don’t want to get knocked out of the playoffs by a loss. You can easily argue they have something to play for in this matchup.
But their faults have been exposed and pre-season boasting of their intended capture of the division title was put to rest even before last week’s loss to the Saints.
Atlanta has raised the white flag, announcing that they will not reactivate Devonta Freeman despite also putting Ito Smith on injured reserve this week. Freeman will get more time to heal for next season, which is the next time Atlanta will play meaningful football.
Matt Ryan is having an excellent season and since Julio Jones was reintroduced to the end zone, hardly a week goes by that he doesn’t revisit. But the Falcons’ star combination couldn’t overcome the loss of so many teammates.
Injuries and notes
The Falcons placed rookie Ito Smith on the injured reserve with a knee injury. Julio Jones is listed as probable with a rib injury.
Carolina kicker Graham Gano remains questionable with a knee issue.
When you kick off a season telling everyone who will listen that anything less than a Super Bowl appearance is unacceptable, your team better make the playoffs, at least. That is exactly what Ron Rivera did to himself this year even as rumors of new ownership mulling changes floated around the offices.
If Rivera’s decision and failure to convert a last-second two-point conversion earlier in the season cost the team a postseason berth, no one could be surprised to find Rivera on the market next season.
Dan Quinn has been given a mulligan on the season due to the massive amounts of injuries. Atlanta snapped a long losing streak by taking out their frustration against an inferior team. Quinn could put the finishing touches on Rivera’s role in Carolina with another win Sunday.
How to watch the Panthers-Falcons game
Fans living in the Carolinas or Georgia can watch this Fox Sports-distributed game for free on Sling TV. As one of the leading internet TV providers in the country, Sling carries all the networks you need to follow the NFL all year.
When there’s no game, you can watch plenty of other sports, movies, and TV shows on the dozens of leading networks included for the low cost of a contract-free monthly subscription.
Sling TV, like Fubo TV and DirecTV Now, let you watch all your favorite networks anywhere you have internet. Not only are monthly subscription rates just a fraction of a typical cable or satellite bill, but there is also no expensive equipment needed to watch TV on DirecTV Now, Sling, or Fubo.
You don’t have to take our word for it, either. Fubo TV, Sling TV, and DirecTV Now each offer a no-obligation trial period that will let you watch the Panthers-Falcons game- and all the other entertainment options they offer- for free!
Check out their websites today to see how much you can save by getting rid of your cable or satellite.
Read More : NFL Week 17 Game Preview: Falcons at Buccaneers
Who will win the Panthers-Falcons game?
Carolina is playing in front of a home crowd with playoff hopes hanging by a thread. Atlanta is playing out the string with little worry about their status.
But there is something not quite right in Carolina. Atlanta has been streaky all season. They could win out.