1:00 PM ET, December 4, 2005
1:00 PM ET, December 4, 2005
Atlanta (7-4) at Carolina (8-3) Sunday 1:00 pm EST
The Falcons can tie with Panthers atop the NFC South on Sunday when the teams meet for the first time this season.
While the Falcons have gotten the best of their division rival of late, two of three wins have come in overtime, including a 34-31 victory last December that wound up being a major blow to the Panthers' playoff hopes.
Atlanta has won nine of the last 10 meetings against the Panthers, with the only loss in that span coming in 2003 when Michael Vick was sidelined with a broken fibula.
The Falcons have had some extra time to get ready for this showdown following an easy 27-7 victory at Detroit on Thanksgiving. Vick threw for 146 yards and two touchdowns and Warrick Dunn rushed for 116 yards.
Dunn, who has rushed for 1,094 yards, leads the NFL's top-ranked rushing team which averages 183.1 yards. Of course that total is bolstered by Vick, who has rushed for 434 yards.
Dunn, Vick and T.J. Duckett should receive a stern test from the Panthers, who allow 82.2 yards per game on the ground to rank third in the league.
Carolina, which has won seven of its last eight games following a 2-2 start, also is a game in front of Tampa Bay in the division. The Panthers host the Bucs next week.
Series: Atlanta leads, 14-6.
Next week: Atlanta hosts New Orleans, December 11 Carolina hosts Tampa Bay, December 12
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Panthers must overcome Vick deamons
This game shapes up as a showdown between two of the top three teams vying for supremacy in the highly competitive NFC South. The Falcons enter Sunday's contest with some extra days of rest and preparation, following one of their most impressive all-around performances against the Lions last Thursday.
QB Michael Vick is playing the best football of his NFL career, but will be tested this week by a Carolina defense that also seems to be peaking. Atlanta's run defense has been a sore spot for most of the 2005 season, but the unit tightened up versus Detroit last week and will need to build on that momentum in order to keep RBs Stephen Davis and DeShaun Foster under wraps.
|Avg Points Allowed||19.8||16.2|
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||ATL|
|Rush Yds Allowed||ATL|
|Atlanta leads 7-3|
|Dec 18, 2004||ATL 34, CAR 31|
|Oct 3, 2004||ATL 27, @CAR 10|
|Dec 7, 2003||ATL 20, CAR 14|
|Sep 28, 2003||ATL 3, @CAR 23|
|Nov 24, 2002||ATL 41, @CAR 0|
|Oct 20, 2002||ATL 30, CAR 0|
|Nov 25, 2001||ATL 10, @CAR 7|
|Sep 23, 2001||ATL 24, CAR 16|