Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy says the struggling Panthers are a better team than league-leading Atlanta.
Yes, the Falcons, who have clinched the NFC South division title with an 11-1 record. The Panthers are 3-9 after losing Sunday to Kansas City (2-10).
When asked if he meant the Panthers were the better team on Sept. 30 when they lost 30-28 at Atlanta or better overall, Hardy replied, ''Both.''
Hardy says this Sunday's rematch is about ''payback'' and ''punishment.''
He says, ''We owe them something and it is coming.''
Hardy is among several Carolina defensive players who felt disrespected by Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan after television cameras caught him cursing as he shouted get off our field toward the Panthers sidelines following Atlanta's Week 4 win at the Georgia Dome.