Carolina Panthers stay alive in NFC South with win over Atlanta Falcons

A steady rain fueled by Tropical Storm Nicole made for some messy conditions in Thursday night's tilt between the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers.

The Panthers came through with a 25-15 victory, 11 days after the Falcons beat the Panthers in a wild 37-34 overtime game at Atlanta.

Don't laugh, but the Carolina Panthers remain relevant in the NFC South.

As bad as they've been, the division has been nearly as bad and is winnable for a team that is 3-7 after Thursday night's victory over the Falcons.

Carolina is only a game-and-a-half behind first-place Tampa Bay (4-5), a team it has already beaten. It's only a game behind Atlanta (4-6) with a 1-1 record against the Falcons.

And consider, the Panthers have the best division record (3-1) and their remaining schedule is the 27th toughest in the NFL. New Orleans' schedule is the seventh toughest and the Bucs' is 22nd. Again, don't laugh.

In 2014, a 3-8-1 Carolina team won its final four to win the South and then a playoff game.