3 X-Factors for the Atlanta Falcons to beat the Panthers in week 8
Rashaan Evans – LB
The Atlanta Falcons’ linebackers must find a way to shut the running game down for Carolina, and that falls mostly on the shoulders of Rashaan Evans.
When you look at the Panthers’ two wins on the year, one similarity is that they had a 100-yard rusher in both of those games. Albeit, they had Christian McCaffrey in their backfield against the Saints, but last week former Falcon D’Onta Foreman rushed for 118 yards.
Last Sunday, both Chuba Hubbard and D’Onta Foreman averaged seven-plus yards per carry, this team has the ability to get explosive plays on the ground. While they were playing a pretty poor rushing defense in the Bucs, it is still something to be worried about.
Stopping the run starts with the big boys up front but once they eat up their blocks, the next step is for Rashaan Evans to bring the ball carrier down immediately. Evans is the more physical linebacker and is better equipped to stop the run compared to Mykal Walker who tends to thrive as a playmaker. Evans is just a more nasty and scrappy linebacker. In fact, they do claim he is the meanest player on the team — in a good way.
It will be up to Rashaan’s physicality for the Falcons’ defense to be able to put a halt to the Panthers’ strong running game.