Five things to know before today’s Panthers at Falcons kickoff 


Here are five things to know before this afternoon’s 4:25 p.m. kickoff between the Panthers (11-4) and the Falcons (9-6) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

1. PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR THE FALCONS: Atlanta clinches a playoff berth with:

1) ATL win OR

2) SEA loss OR

3) ATL tie + SEA tie

2. LATE-FRIDAY ROSTER MOVE TO BOLSTER INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE: The Falcons, concerned about their depth along the interior of the offensive line, signed guard Jamil Douglas from the practice squad Friday.

To make room for Douglas, the Falcons released cornerback Deji Olatoye. Center Alex Mack (calf) is questionable for the game.  Left guard Andy Levitre (triceps) did not play last week against the Saints. Mack is expected to play. 

3. RUN GAME TO BE LIMITED WITHOUT TOILOLO: Without their best blocking tight end in Levine Toilolo (knee sprain, out for game), the Falcons outside runs will be tougher to hit against the Panthers. Toilolo is the best blocker of the trio and helps to win the edge when he’s in the game.

Tight end Eric Saubert will be active for the game to replace Toilolo as the second tight end behind Austin Hooper. The Falcons have used guard Ben Garland as a blocking tight end in some short yardage situations.

4. ALLEN WINS GOOD GUY AWARD: Falcons free safety Ricardo Allen was named the PFWA “Good Guy Award” winner in a vote of Atlanta writers and broadcasters regularly assigned to cover the team on Thursday.

Allen, a starter on the defense, was always available during the open locker room periods and after games. Also receiving high consideration from the voters were quarterback Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. 

5. SERIES HISTORY: This will be the 46th meeting. The Falcons lead the series 27-18. The Falcons have won three of the last four meetings. The Panthers won the previous meeting 20-17 on Nov. 5.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Falcons

Smith should be first Bulldog to go in NFL draft
Smith should be first Bulldog to go in NFL draft

The comparisons to Ray Lewis and Derrick Brooks speak volumes. With that, former Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith will be the first former Bulldog selected in the NFL draft, which is set for Thursday through Saturday in Arlington, Texas.  “He is a tremendous player,” said Phil Savage, the director of the Senior Bowl and former NFL general...
Falcons could add to thin linebacker corps 
Falcons could add to thin linebacker corps 

Fourth of five-part series on the Falcons’ draft needs.   Today: Linebackers    The Falcons currently have just three linebackers on the roster. Just three. The Falcons are set to add to the depth at the position in the NFL draft, which is set for Thursday through Saturday. Middle linebacker Deion Jones, strongside De&rsquo...
5 things to know before Falcons pick the next ‘Mr. Irrelevant’
5 things to know before Falcons pick the next ‘Mr. Irrelevant’

The title of “Mr. Irrelevant” has been given to the last overall player taken in the NFL Draft since 1976. The winner of the title is bestowed the Lowsman Trophy along with a parade and weeklong party, starting June 15, in Newport Beach, Calif.  The Atlanta Falcons will have the honor of selecting this year’s Mr. Irrelevant --...
Falcons could look to add an offensive weapon 
Falcons could look to add an offensive weapon 

Today: Wide receiver Don’t expect quarterback Matt Ryan to storm into the draft room and bang his cleats on the table for some offensive help when the Falcons select 26th overall on Thursday. After all, in each of the past three drafts the Falcons have selected defensive players with their top two picks. “I have no input,” Ryan...
Falcons have recent draft history of LSU defensive players
Falcons have recent draft history of LSU defensive players

Since head coach Dan Quinn was hired in 2015, the Falcons have selected a player from LSU in each of those past three NFL drafts. The Falcons will have a few more LSU players on their board this year for the draft, which starts Thursday and runs through Saturday in Arlington, Texas.  “It’s the tradition of the LSU defense,” said...
More Stories