There’s no empirical reason to suggest the Falcons can win this game, other than the fact football’s not played in a petri dish.
The Falcons aren’t far enough along in their rebuilding program to challenge for division titles or playoff spots. There’s just not enough talent here yet.
But there is enough to be problematic in the short-term.
They can run very well and from multiple angles, they have a young quarterback with confidence and a few playmakers on defense.
What they don’t have is enough solid guys (especially on defense) to sustain them when things don’t go exactly right, or when they run up against better competition.
If the Panthers are serious about being a playoff contender, this is a game they have to win. After all, flaws were exposed a week ago, and let it happen two weeks in a row and it’s a trend.
Carolina should be able to run, and that makes everything better for them, specifically as it relates to keeping QB Jake Delhomme upright.
The Falcons are on the right track, faster than expected, but they could be in for a reality check today after feasting on ridiculously bad Detroit and worse Kansas City.
Prediction: Panthers 20, Falcons 16
(And yes, I'm a clean 0-3 picking Panthers games this year)