Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers: Full game preview

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Dec 13, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers tight end Ed Dickson (84) catches a touchdown as Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford (23) defends in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Who to watch

Robert Alford

Alford struggled in the first meeting between these two teams. He was beaten by Ted Ginn Jr. early on and gave up on the chase, allowing Ginn to run in for a 74-yard touchdown. Alford had the opportunity to pick off Cam Newton on the following drive but couldn’t bring it in. The very next play, Ginn was off to the races for another big touchdown pass.

Alford needs to have a good game, as does the entire secondary.

Julio Jones

Jones has to play well for the Falcons to have a shot at winning the game. He will draw plenty of attention from defenders, and will need to get open and be the playmaker he can be.

If Jones has a big day, so do the Falcons. It’s as simple as that. If the Panthers keep him bottled up, forget about it.

Matt Ryan

It starts and ends with Matt Ryan. He will need to put in his best performance of the season for the Falcons to win, but if he does, they will have a slight chance of winning the game.

If Ryan struggles like he so often has this season, the Panthers will stroll to a series sweep and a 15-0 record.