At first Dan Quinn made it look too easy. The former Seattle defensive coordinator stepped straight from a Super Bowl defense to a 5–0 start as a rookie head coach. Every move made to fix the floundering Falcons worked — until nothing could go right.
Thanks to an uninspired performance against the Falcons in Atlanta last week, any dreams the Carolina Panthers (14-1) had of a perfect season have come to an abrupt end. The Panthers must now re-focus and set their sights on locking up the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage for the NFC playoffs.
When these two NFC South rivals last met just two weeks ago, it did not end well for the Atlanta Falcons (7-7), as they were pounded by the Panthers 38-0 in Charlotte. The Falcons hope that Week 16 will result in a completely different outcome in Atlanta.