This week the Carolina Panthers square off in their first divisional game of the season against the Atlanta Falcons, making this the most important game of the year thus far. With the Falcons currently leading the division with a 2-1 record, the Panthers have the opportunity to tie them for the division league by Sunday evening.
One of the biggest stories so far this season is how the Atlanta Falcons have supplanted the Carolina Panthers as the number one offense in the league. It is true, the Falcons have the most points and yards of any team in the NFL. Their 104 total points is 24 points over the second place Oakland Raiders. Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers have the 7th ranked offense in the league. Not bad, but could be better.
How did this happen? Well, as it turns out, the Falcons can thank their schedule more than anything else.
So far this season, the Falcons have played the Buccaneers, Raiders, and Saints. If there ever was a schedule that could inflate offensive stats early in the season, this is it.
The two Falcons victories came against the Raiders and Saints. The Raiders are currently ranked dead last in the NFL in yards allowed at a whopping 476 yards a game. The Saints? They are ranked next to last, with 448 yards per game. That’s right, the Falcons two victories literally came against the two worst defenses in the league. Bravo.
In the Falcons only loss, they mustered only 24 points against a less than mediocre Buccaneers defense, currently ranked 19th and licking their wounds after giving up 37 points to the LA Rams.
The Panthers, on the other hand, have lost to the 6th and 7th ranked defenses, dropping their offense to only 7th in the league currently.
If only the Carolina Panthers had played a bad defense this year we could compare. Well, the San Francisco 49ers are currently the 20th ranked defense in the league, neck in neck with the Buccaneers. Below average, but not horrible. The Carolina Panthers hung 46 points on them.
The Falcons have the 1st ranked offense having played two horrible defenses. The Panthers have the 7th ranked offense having played two very good defenses.
As such, Atlanta Falcons fans need to soak up the happiness of a winning record while they can. Next on their schedule are the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. Facing three of the best defenses in the league means three consecutive losses and a big drop in the offensive rankings.
End result, a 2-4 Atlanta Falcons record.
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