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NFL playoff picture: What does Falcons-Panthers mean for NFC standings

The Atlanta Falcons face the Carolina Panthers in Week 14. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers during their game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons are flying north this week to take on the Carolina Panthers in an NFC South divisional battle. Despite both of these teams being 5-7, they are both on the edge of playoff relevancy in the NFC so this is an important game. Kickoff from Bank of America Stadium is set for 1:00 p.m. ET with the game airing on FOX. The Panthers get the slight edge at DraftKings Sportsbook being a -2.5 point favorite.

Falcons playoff picture

Current NFC standing

While the Falcons are sitting four games back of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they are still in the playoff hunt for the NFC. They need a big win over the Panthers to get their momentum started as they head into the dog days of their schedule with their four remaining games. When these two teams met in Week 8, the Panthers came away with a 19-13 victory. The Falcons will do their best to lean on Cordarrelle Patterson to give them the spark they need. While they would miss the playoffs if they started today, they are one game back from being the 6 seed. That’s how close the NFC is.

Panthers playoff picture

Current NFC standing

The Panthers are coming out of the bye week that saw them relieve offensive coordinator Joe Brady from his duties. Quarterback Cam Newton was horrid in their last game against the Miami Dolphins so the Panthers have to be hoping that the coordinator change can help Newton do more than just sell tickets to nostalgic fans. No Christian McCaffrey the rest of the way so the Panthers need someone to step up big if they want to make a playoff run. They are currently on the outside looking in, but like Atlanta, are only one game back from being the 6 seed.

Rest of the NFC playoff field

Bills (7-5) @ Buccaneers (9-3)
Cowboys (8-4) @ Washington (6-6)
49ers (6-6) @ Bengals (7-5)
Bears (4-8) @ Packers (9-3) Sunday Night Football
Rams (8-4) @ Cardinals (10-2) Monday Night Football
Vikings (6-7) beat Steelers (6-6-1) Thursday Night Football