- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

CAROLINA (6-8-1) at ATLANTA (6-9)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

OPENING LINE - Falcons by 3 1/2

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Carolina 7-8, Atlanta 7-8

SERIES RECORD - Falcons lead 24-15

LAST MEETING - Falcons beat Panthers 19-17, Nov. 16, 2013

LAST WEEK - Panthers beat Browns 17-13; Falcons beat Saints 30-14

AP PRO32 RANKING - Panthers 18 (tie), Falcons No. 20

Panthers OFFENSE - OVERALL (14), RUSH (8), PASS (19)

Panthers DEFENSE - OVERALL (10), RUSH (19), PASS (9)

FALCONS OFFENSE - OVERALL (7), RUSH (24), PASS (5)

FALCONS DEFENSE - OVERALL (32), RUSH (18), PASS (32)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Game will determine NFC South champion. Panthers win division with win or tie. … Winner will become NFL’s first team with losing record to make playoffs since 2010 Seattle Seahawks (7-9). … Panthers trying to become first repeat NFC South champion. … Panthers are 14-3 in December games since coach Ron Rivera was hired in 2011. Only New England (15-2) has better record. … QB Cam Newton helped Panthers beat Falcons and clinch NFC South title in Week 17 last year at Georgia Dome, throwing for 148 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 72 yards on 12 carries. … Graham Gano missed field goals of 46 and 63 yards in final two minutes of Carolina’s 19-17 loss to Atlanta on Nov. 16. … WR Kelvin Benjamin needs 1 yard receiving to reach 1,000 for season. … Panthers allowed just 40 combined points last three games. … RB Jonathan Stewart has 437 yards rushing in last four games. … Panthers started seven rookies last week against Cleveland. … Falcons are 5-0 against NFC South opponents. … QB Matt Ryan has four straight 300-yard games. … Falcons had season-high five sacks against Saints. … WR Julio Jones’ seven receptions against Saints gave him 100 for season, tops in NFC. He also leads NFC with 1,535 yards receiving. … Atlanta has held two straight opponents under 60 yards rushing. … PK Matt Bryant leads NFL with seven FGs of 50 yards or longer. … WR Roddy White has at least one TD in last five games against Panthers.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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