Some final thoughts on Atlanta’s first divisional game tomorrow


Atlanta Falcons travel to Charlotte in Week 9 to face their NFC South rival Carolina Panthers. After breaking a three-game skid last week vs the New York Jets, Atlanta is looking for it’s first divisional win, and their second win in a row.

The Atlanta Falcons are arguably in a must win situation tomorrow. While we are just halfway through the season, the Falcons are ranked third in their division.

With a tough November schedule ahead, Atlanta needs to win in order to maintain pace with the top ranked NFC teams.

Atlanta’s offensive line will be challenged tomorrow by a strong Carolina Panthers front seven.

The Falcons will certainly need to give Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan time in the pocket if we are to see big game performances from Falcons receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu.

More from Blogging Dirty

If Atlanta center Alex Mack and fellow linemen Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder are able to contain the Panthers’ pass rush, then Matt Ryan should have a solid game against an average Panthers secondary.

I would like to see the Falcons utilize tight end Austin Hooper tomorrow. Hooper was incredibly effective on Atlanta’s second drive of the game against the New York Jets.

If Atlanta plans to keep Carolina’s defense on it’s toes, Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will need to operate multiple facets of his playbook.

The utilization of his tight ends last weekend proved to open up the play calling, which led to a big run and catch (50-yards plus each) against the Jets.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Falcons have yet to showcase their expected potential.

Prior to the season, there was much talk about Atlanta’s young, fast, and physical defense. The defense has yet to produce as anticipated.

But tomorrow’s matchup against former NFL MVP Panthers quarterback Cam Newton could provide the platform for the Falcons defense to showcase their worth.

Atlanta’s defense must contain Cam Newton and Carolina rookie running back Christian McCaffrey. While McCaffrey has not quite lived up to expectations over the past couple of weeks, the Falcons certainly do not want to see him create momentum tomorrow.

Lastly, the Falcons will need to execute well on special teams. Last week’s special team’s effort against the New York Jets was solid enough to provide effective ball placement, a punt return for a touchdown (which was called back on a controversial penalty), and points via four field goals.

Next: Scouting the Falcons vs Panthers matchup with Cat Crave

Tomorrow will arguably produce Atlanta’s greatest challenge of the season thus far. A divisional matchup. A victory could really set this team off to a dominate second half of the season.