CHARLOTTE - When we first met our friends down I-85 in October, the Falcons had won three of four with a +8 scoring margin in those games.
Since losing 19-13 to Carolina in Week 8, Atlanta has gone 2-3 with a -69 scoring margin.
Atlanta, like Carolina and so many other NFC teams, sits at 5-7 and teetering between a run at a wild card spot or a Top 10 draft pick.
Carolina has only won two home games against the Falcons dating back to 2013, and Cam Newton figured largely in each of those wins (2015, 2017). How he matches up against his hometown team on Sunday will be important to watch.
SLOW PASS RUSH
Speaking of Newton, he'll be hoping to stay more upright against the Falcons after the bye.
Atlanta barely touched Tom Brady in their loss last week to the Buccaneers at home.
The Falcons currently rank last in the NFL in sacks (15) and pressure rate (19.9 percent), according to Next Gen Stats.
That could prove fortuitous for a Panthers offensive line that struggled in Week 12 at Miami.
MATT RYAN STRUGGLING UNDER PRESSURE
When blitzed, Ryan has thrown a league-high seven interceptions with a passer rating of 75.6, ranking 24th among qualified quarterbacks.
When he isn't blitzed, Ryan's rating is 95.5 and his 2.25 TD/INT ratio is tied for ninth in the NFL.
Ryan's 2,914 pass yards so far means he's likely to record his 13th career 3,000-yard season on Sunday, tying Dan Marino for eighth-most in NFL history.
PATTERSON STILL DOING IT ALL
Last week, Cordarrelle Patterson topped 1,000 scrimmage yards for the season as he's set single-season highs for rushing yards (489), rushing touchdowns (four), receiving yards (518) and receiving touchdowns (five), and is the second Falcon in franchise history to record at least 1,000 scrimmage yards, five receiving touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns in a season.
He's the first player in NFL history with at least 10 rushing TDs, 10 receiving TDs and five kickoff return TDs in a single career.
Foye Oluokun leads the Falcons defense with 135 total tackles this season. Oluokun's 135 tackles are the second most in the NFL behind only Seattle's Bobby Wagner (137).
Oluokon had 16 tackles in the first game against Carolina in Week 8.
Carolina is 20-35 all-time against Atlanta dating all the way back to 1995.