The Atlanta Falcons are off to a decent start this season and are heading into week four to face a tough opponent in the Carolina Panthers. How can they stop star quarterback Cam Newton and the Panthers?
The Atlanta Falcons are off to a middling start under second year Falcon’s Coach Dan Quinn. They have started 2-1 on the season beating a talented young Oakland Raiders squad and a fading New Orleans Saints team that seems unable to stop any offense.
The team itself looks to be improved getting occasional pressure on the quarterback and getting some key stops early this season. The offense has been one of the best in the league through three games.
Julio Jones has hardly been needed as anything other than a decoy with Atlanta featuring a lot of new faces as receiver and with tight-end Jacob Tamme taking a big step forward in his production. Matt Ryan has avoided turnovers for the most part and has looked very good for the Falcons through three weeks.
The problem for the Falcons is that they are now set to face three of the toughest teams in football for three straight games. The Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, and the Denver Broncos are the next three teams slated against the Atlanta Falcons. They will no doubt find out a lot about themselves as a team after these next three weeks in the season.
This week the Falcons will be up against Cam Newton’s reeling Panthers. They have already lost as many games in the first four weeks this season as they did in all of last season including the Super Bowl loss. The explanation has been the target on the Panthers back and the level of teams they have played.
The Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos are both teams that arguably could make a Super Bowl run this season and neither beat the Panthers by all that much. Last season’s highlight for a lot of Falcon’s fans was the second seasonal match-up against the Panthers. The Falcons ruined the Panther’s perfect season chances and had one of their most memorable plays of the season Now as they are headed into week four how can the Falcons stop Cam Newton and the Panthers?
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Love him or hate him Cam Newton is one of the best athletes in the game and stopping him has to be the focus for the Falcons this week. The Vikings and Broncos have both provided blue prints on how to beat the Panthers this season.
Cam Newton does not make good decisions when he is not protected, he makes mistakes and looks as human as any other quarterback. Forcing him to make quick decisions or holding up in coverage long enough to make him go to his third look throws off Newton and the team itself.
While it is fair to note that the rioting in Charlotte, NC likely took a toll on Newton and the rest of the team the results have been the same aside from the Vikings game. He struggles to make good decisions and ad lib plays when his first or second look isn’t there.
For the Falcons they are going to have to hold up in coverage and make him go to his third or fourth look. If they can do that they will have a very good chance of throwing Newton off his rhythm and force a repeat performance for Newton like he had in week three.
For the offense the key is going to be more of the same against the best defense they have faced so far this season. The Panthers defense plays like every fan wishes their defense would, they hit hard and never give up on a play. The amount of ferocity they play with befits them as a team and their style.
The young corners have been a problem for the Panthers at times this season. That may be one of the few downsides that the Falcons will look to exploit against this Panthers defense. This game should be a great one that will answer a lot of questions for both sides.
The best question about this game is which will be the bigger miss match, Julio Jones against the inexperienced corners or Atlanta’s underwhelming defensive front against Cam Newton and company? The game will kick off October 2nd at 1:00 PM EST on FOX.