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The 3-4 Falcons And 2-5 Panthers Will Be Playing For First Place In The NFC South On Sunday

This is what you dream about when the NFL schedule is released in the spring, folks. Two bonafide playoff contenders meeting at the midpoint of the season to battle for control of the division. Don't ask for any further details as that previous sentence is technically correct.

That's right, your 3-4 Atlanta Falcons will host the 2-5 Carolina Panthers this Sunday afternoon in front of a most certainly not sold out Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with the winner going into Week 9 in possession of first place in the NFC South. The first team in the League to fire its coach this season could be in first place just three weeks later.

While first place will belong to one of the aforementioned teams after this weekend, the fine folks at the Barstool Sportsbook still have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at -182 to win the division.

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Has anyone watched that team play football? If the Falcons can get back to 4-4 with a win over Carolina, their next five games are against the Chargers, Panthers again, Bears, Commanders and Steelers going into their Week 14 bye. There's a non-zero chance Atlanta is 9-4 after 13 games if Marcus Mariota can figure out how to throw the ball — or if Desmond Ridder gets a shot at some point.

Regardless, this is why you watch football. Nothing like a late October battle for first place between a couple of good squads.