Why Atlanta Falcons will defeat the Carolina Panthers
The Atlanta Falcons have a tough task ahead of them this Sunday as they face the undefeated Carolina Panthers.
The Atlanta Falcons are trending down and very few NFL analysts are giving them a chance to win after losing five of their last six games. Fact is anyone can lose at any given time, and I am predicting the Falcons will defeat the Carolina Panthers this Sunday.
The Falcons have one thing working for them; they don’t have anything to lose. They have been written off and left for dead. They now have less than a five percent chance of making the playoffs despite being only one game behind the wild-card Seattle Seahawks. This is the perfect situation to play your best game of the season and end the Panthers undefeated bid.
Just looking at the two teams record it would appear the Falcons are overmatch, however if you look closer this game is relatively even. Let’s breakdown the position groups with which team has the edge.
Quarterback: Cam Newton has played spectacular this year even if he doesn’t have the passing yardage to prove it. Matt Ryan is having his worse season as a pro. Edge: Carolina
Running backs: Devonta Freeman is having a breakout season. He has rushed for 811 yards while averaging 4.5 yards per carry. He also missed one game with a concussion and did not start the first two games. That’s almost three games of missed time in which he would probably already have gone over the 1,000-yard mark. Jonathan Stewart has been a solid back rushing for 914 yards but only 3.9 yards per carry. Devonta also has 58 catches on the season. Edge: Atlanta
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Receiving options: Julio Jones leads the NFL in receptions (102) and yards (1,338). No need to even look at the Panthers side here, as the closest person is tight end Greg Olsen, but it’s not even close. Edge: Atlanta
Offensive line: Both teams are playing with revamped offensive lines. Both were expected to be bad at the position but surprisingly both offensive lines have played well. Ryan has been sacked 23 times; Newton 22. Both teams can run the ball. Edge: Even
Defensive line: The Falcons defensive line is much improved this year and are benefiting from a scheme change. The Panthers defensive line is not as scary as it was in the past with Greg Hardy but they are still very good. Kawann Short has generated seven sacks from his interior DL position. The Falcons aren’t getting a lot of sacks they have a deeper rotation among defensive tackles whom have all played well. Edge: Atlanta
Linebackers: Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis are two of the best in the league and they both are on the same team. This one isn’t close the best option for the Falcons is an often injured Justin Durant. Edge: Carolina
Secondary: At first glance, it looks as if the Panthers have a huge edge in this department but that is not the case. Josh Norman may well be the best corner in the league this year but Desmond Trufant is definitely top-5. Robert Alford is better than Bene Benwikere as the second corner. So the corner positions are basically a wash which leaves us with the safety position where I would lean toward Carolina. Edge: Carolina
There you have it. The records do not indicate how close these two teams are lineup wise. The Panthers have rode Newton’s cape to an undefeated season to go along with some timely turnovers by their defense.
The Panthers defense is stout, but they are not invincible. The Falcons can have success against them and if their defense can limit Newton’s big play ability they should find themselves in position to win this ballgame.
The Falcons will give the Panthers their first loss of the season this Sunday and get a much needed victory and a boost of confidence.