Falcons Vs Panthers – Week 6 Preview


The Falcons have a tough match up this weekend against the Carolina Panthers? Yes that’s right a tough match up. I know that with their poor play last year, everyone had the two Carolina games circled as somewhat easy wins on the schedule this season. Well unfortunately for our struggling beloved Falcons, it’s just not the case. Not only do we badly need a win to get back to .500 in the win/loss column and to stay in the playoff race. We need that feel good convincing win to get the confidence in this team built back up and get the season rolling the right way. With that said, I believe the Falcons will get the win this week and I’ll tell you why as I breakdown their offense vs our defense, and our offense vs their defense.

Panthers offense vs Falcons defense:

The Panthers have really come out swinging early this season and wowed everyone with their star rookie QB Cam Newton. He has already this early in his career broken several NFL rookie passing records and proven that he can hang with talent in the already QB rich NFC South. Couple him with young again receiver Steve Smith, newly acquired tight end Greg Olsen, and a running game that’s just starting to get going, well you have a very potent offense. How potent you ask? They are ranked number  5 in over all yardage in the league. They are also 5th in the league in pass yards, 13th in rush yards and 15th in points scored. That puts them in the top half of the league in all major offensive categories.

So how do we stop them defensively? When you are playing someone who is inexperienced you have to throw stuff at them that they have not seen yet. With the way the Falcons started to get the pass rush going against Green Bay last Sunday, we need to do more of that with a good bit of blitzes from different areas to keep Cam confused. Since he is a good runner as well that can escape the pocket and make plays, we need to spy him with a linebacker hanging around waiting for the scramble. Double Steve Smith at all times. Cam has struggled to throwing the ball to his other receivers. He has 27 completions to Smith while just 26 completions to all other wide receivers. Double Greg Olsen in the red zone. If we can stop  a big target like that with a short field it will make red zone scoring tough for Carolina, making them have to run it in and we know that the Falcons red zone run defense is pretty stout. If we can take away Newtons biggest options and make the Panthers one dimensional then this should be a much needed win for Atlanta.

Falcons offense vs Caroline defense:

With everything said about Carolinas offense it’s hard to believe that they are just a 1-4 team. The reason for the poor win/loss ratio in that case would have to be on their defensive side of the ball. This is where things really play into the Falcons hands. The Panthers are giving up an average 135 rushing yards a game, putting them at 27th in the league. With the Micheal Turner already off to a great start this year at 360 yards, 4.3 yards per carry, and 4 touchdowns we should be able to get the ground game going. Turner just needs to get enough carries to make his production, something that just has not happened enough so far.

The Panthers are pretty banged up in the linebacker spots. Arguably their best defensive player middle linebacker Jon Beason is out for the year. His replacement Omar Gaither has not been practicing this week due to a knee injury. With those guys hurt it not only helps our run game, but it will put either a fairly inexperienced linebacker or a safety covering Tony Gonzalez. This promises to be a good match up all game long for Matt Ryan to dump the ball off to. Matt is going to have to rely on Tony a little bit more in this game with Julio Jones already ruled out. Roddy White is also going to have to step up his play and stop dropping the ball. If he does not have a good day then there might not be enough threat of deep ball which can really make the short stuff a lot harder with the safeties creeping down into the middle of the field. Another guy that we are going to need to have a big day is WR Harry Douglas, who started to show some signs of life last week with only two receptions but multiple more targets most notably a 47 yard reception that unfortunately got called back due to a holding penalty.

Last but definitely not least, Atlanta’s offensive line has got to protect Ryan. If he can stay upright throughout this game it is going to go a long way to building this teams confidence back up. He was hit so many times in the first few weeks that it had taken it’s toll early. The past two games however the line has really stepped it up and only allowed 2 sacks, my hats off to them for the most improvement in the early part of the season. So it’s just that easy right? Run the ball well, attack their beaten up linebacker spot, don’t drop the ball, keep the QB clean, and no untimely penalties. Well we will see, things are never as easy as they sound in the NFL. This games going in the win column though, Go Birds!