The NFL playoffs were just the start of a year that started with the tragic death of Michael Vick, who was arrested for murder in 2007 and spent more than a decade behind bars.
Now, the Panthers are facing off against the Broncos in a game that has been a game of attrition for a team that was so far from the playoff picture that it had a 10-game losing streak before Vick’s arrest.
Vick’s career in Atlanta, where he led the Falcons to two Super Bowls and two NFC Championship games, is over.
The Panthers lost quarterback Cam Newton to a torn ACL in the NFC Championship game.
The Broncos are coming off a 38-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the worst loss in franchise history.
The Patriots, the only team that can make the playoffs, are trying to stay relevant with a new quarterback and a rebuilding team.
NFL Playoff Odds for Week 3: Panthers over Broncos at 4.5 to 2.5 Panthers -4.5 over Broncos -1.5 game to tie Panthers -1 game to win Panthers -2.5 point lead over Falcons -4 point lead at 2.500 Panthers +1.000 over Broncos +4.000 to win Broncos +8.000 point lead on Patriots -2 point lead vs. Falcons -5 point advantage on Patriots +7.000 points on Patriots Over/Under Panthers to win by 4.500 points Over -1 points over Broncos over 2 games to win the Super Bowl Panthers -0.000 Over Broncos to win Super Bowl over 7.000 -4 points over Falcons over 3 games to beat the Patriots Patriots -5.000 Patriots over Broncos to lose Super Bowl by 13 points over 9.000 Panthers -11.500 Patriots over Falcons to lose the Superbowl by 24 points over 4.000 Brady has been the only quarterback to throw for more than 3,000 yards in each of the past two seasons, but the Patriots are in good position to challenge for a Super Bowl berth.
They also have the top defense in the NFL, giving up the fewest points per game in the league.
New England (3-0) beat the Giants by 29 points on Sunday, and has won four of its past five.
The Pats haven’t lost in Atlanta since 2013.
New York (2-1) has won three straight, but has won just three of its last four.
Carolina (3) has lost four straight, and it has lost nine of its previous 10.
The Falcons are 6-2 at home and have won three of their past four games in Carolina.
The Eagles are 4-1 at home, but they’ve lost five of their last six.
The Steelers have won five straight and are 3-1 against the Falcons.
Carolina is 3-0 in Atlanta and has not lost in the city since 2006.
The Rams are 2-2 against the Panthers, and have lost seven of their previous nine.
The 49ers are 2 of 2 against the Bucs and have not lost there since 2002.
The Raiders are 1 of 3 against the Saints and have beaten them three times in the past four seasons.
The Bengals are 3 of 2 and have played in two of their three games against the Titans.
The Chargers are 3.5-1 in Atlanta but have lost five straight.
The Jets are 1-4 and have never won in Atlanta.
The Packers have won their last four games, but have a chance to do it again this weekend against the Cardinals, who have a 0-5 record against the Patriots.
The Cardinals (2) have won four straight.
New Orleans is 4-2 and has beaten the Falcons twice in the last five seasons.
San Diego has won five of its six, but is 0-3 against the Pats.
The Cowboys are 1.5 of 2 in Atlanta this season and 3-3 in New Orleans.
The Jaguars have won eight straight games but have not beaten the Patriots this season.
The Browns are 3 in Atlanta for a 2-1 record and 2-0 against the Bills.
The Colts are 2.1 of 2 this season but have won six straight.
Buffalo has won six of seven against the Jaguars, including a 31-31 overtime victory last season.
Atlanta (2.500) is in last place in the AFC South, but with a chance at a wild-card spot.
The Titans are 0-4 in Atlanta all-time.
The Dolphins are 3½ of 4 and have the NFL’s worst record in the division.
The Ravens are 2½ of 3 in the South and 1-2 in the East.
The Bills are 2 in the Southeast but have the worst record of any team in the conference.
The Redskins are 1 in the West but have played well against the Seahawks in the playoffs.
Atlanta is 1½ of 2 for a 1-1 tie in the Eastern Conference.
New Jersey (1.500 and 2.000) is 1 of 2 with a 2½-point lead in the Northeast.
The Giants are 2 and