Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers: Full game preview

4 of 5

Dec 13, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) is sacked by Atlanta Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley (44) during the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Panthers defeated the Falcons 38-0. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

What to watch

Limiting Cam

Cam Newton is playing at an MVP level, and to have any chance of winning, the Falcons must find a way of slowing him down. Realistically, there’s no chance of stopping him completely, but they must find a way to limit his effectiveness.

The secondary will need to play a great game, keeping his receivers blanketed. And the linebackers will need to ensure Newton isn’t allowed to pick up big chunks of yardage with his legs, either.

Julio Jones vs. Josh Norman II

Josh Norman has gotten the better of just about every receiver he’s lined up opposite this season, including Julio Jones two weeks ago. Jones was held to seven receptions for 88 yards in the first meeting.

Norman had an interesting confrontation with Odell Beckham Jr. last week, which got a little out of hand. For the Falcons to win, Jones is going to need to be the star of the show on offense and get the better of Norman.

Putting it together

The Falcons’ biggest issues on offense have been with turnovers, third down conversions and simply a lack of a No. 2 wide receiver opposite Jones. It must all come together against the Panthers to have any chance of winning. The Falcons will need to be able to run and pass with success.

Next: Who to watch?