Prediction – Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers

This week the Atlanta Falcons travel up interstate 85 to take on the Carolina Panthers in a NFC South matchup that will surely delight the senses. When the Panthers traded Kelvin Benjamin to the Buffalo Bills, they made the outcome of this game exponentially more difficult to predict. But what the heck, I will give it a shot.

Will the Carolina Panthers offense improve? 

Eventually it will, at least it should on paper. But my gut tells me trading Kelvin Benjamin mid week will first serve as a distraction. We saw what mid week distractions do to this team when they faced the New Orleans Saints in week 3. You can revisit that game if you like, I don’t recommend it.

To make matters worse, this is not the Atlanta Falcons defense that we have seen for the past few seasons. Currently ranked 11th in yards allowed per game, they have improved a great deal. In fact, this could be the second best defense the Carolina Panthers have faced all season long.

I just don’t see the Panthers putting up many points this week, sadly. The changes they have made to the receiving corps will take time to produce dividends. Perhaps after the bye week when Greg Olsen returns we will see substantive improvement.

Can the Carolina Panthers defense keep them in the game? 

Now, the good news. The Panthers defense is currently ranked 2nd in the league. Most recently they nearly delivered a shutout against one of the better offenses in the league in Tampa Bay. This is likely the best defense we have seen in Carolina in the Ron Rivera era. They aren’t just good, they are Baltimore Ravens Superbowl caliber good.

The Falcons have taken a step back on offense this year. Exchanging an excellent offensive coordinator for a below average one apparently has a negative effect on an offense. Who would have guessed? If only the Panthers would realize the inverse would also be true, but I digress.

This will be a relatively low scoring game, with neither team getting into the twenties. I just cannot fathom the Carolina Panthers losing three straight home games, so I am giving them the edge.

Carolina Panthers – 13

Atlanta Falcons – 10

Agree? Disagree? You can sound off right here with thousands of Carolina Panthers fans.

Jeremy Igo is owner of Carolina Huddle. Based in Charlotte, he has covered the Carolina Panthers for over a decade.