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Katz: I think this is the only game this week where both teams have something to play for. So let's talk about it!
Savage: Not sure this game really means that much to Carolina. A win guarantees them nothing. With how irreplaceable Cam and Kuechley are for this team, I'm not sure how smart it is to put them in harm's way just for the remote possibility of playing the Saints at home instead of on the road. They'll say they're going to play their starters and everything, but if/when New Orleans takes a lead on Tampa I won't be surprised to see them rest guys.
I like Atlanta here given that they absolutley need to win whereas Carolina will be looking ahead to a very likely 3rd matchup with New Orleans (who has already beaten them twice). I'm waiting, hoping this drops back to down to 3.
Savage: Actually, I take back that part about the playing the Saints a 3rd time. I didn't see the news that the Rams are resting starters.
Skolman: Now that I think I understand the playoff scenarios...I think I’m taking the Panthers and the points. As I understand it, if the Vikings lose in the early game the Panthers are scoreboard watching NO/TB with a possibility for the 2 seed. If Vikings win, the Panthers scoreboard watching the NO/TB game for the division. With that scenario you have to prepare to go 100%, no? Even if NO gets up 14 in the 2nd half...could you pull players and give up on your game?...what if TB mounted a comeback? Rest is ideal but I don’t see how CAR can pull it off with a home playoff game on the line.
RC: Both have everything to play for, the Falcons even more so. The Computer keeps falling in love with the Falcons 3rd down efficiency mixed with solid numbers everywhere else…so, it thinks the ATL win is in the offing.
Rabbitt: Really struggling to get into this week this feels like years ago to me when none of the games mattered almost every week 17. I think the panthers win, so the points are just a bonus. I think Cam has had a really gutsy season. For all the crap he gets, he is playing really amazing given the offensive talent around him.
Katz: Savage's initial point really resonates with me, but I just find it hard to believe the players won't be giving it their all as long as there's a realistic chance of it mattering. I do think Carolina is a better team than Atlanta and if this game was flat out for a playoff spot, Carolina would win it. They certainly know that Atlanta needs the game and I can't shake the feeling that Carolina would get some sense of joy out of knocking Atlanta out of the playoffs should Seattle take care of their end.