Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers: Tale of the tape

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The defenses

Carolina has one of the league’s best defenses, and it’s tough to find many weaknesses. The Panthers can stop the run, slow down the pass and force turnovers. They have it all, and the Falcons offense will have to be very careful not to turn it over against this unit.

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Luke Kuechly continues to dominate, and he will be a player to watch out for. Josh Norman will cause Julio Jones a number of problems, and it will be in the Falcons’ best interest to try and move Jones around the formation to put him in more favorable matchups.

The Falcons defense has improved a lot since last year, and Dan Quinn deserves a lot of credit for the revival. He inherited the No. 32 defense in football, which was also No. 32 stopping the pass. Atlanta is currently No. 11 against the pass and No. 12 against the run, which is an incredible turnaround.

But the unit is far from perfect. Getting sacks has been a consistent issue all season long, just as it was in 2014. And when you can’t generate pressure, it puts a lot of strain on the secondary to keep their guys covered. Expect Cam Newton to take some shots downfield if he has time in the pocket.

Atlanta’s defense has come a long way, but Carolina has the clear advantage on defense.