The Atlanta Falcons will be playing their first division game on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. The winner will be right on the division leading New Orleans Saints heels, with the loser likely struggling to get back in the division race.
The Atlanta Falcons season has been an up-and-down one that has been unpredictable and often disappointing considering the talent still on this Falcon’s roster. The team pulled to 4-3 on the season last week with a sloppy win over the Jets.
Despite putting the ball on the ground three times the Falcons pulled out a 25-20 road win lining them up for a division show down with the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers sit ahead of the Falcons in the division with the winner of this game likely taking second place behind the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints are playing defense and running the ball well and are taking on a staggering Tampa Bay team that will likely keep the Saints at the top of the division. Winning this game for the Panthers or Falcons is huge considering the division standings and both teams’ struggles.
Beating this Panthers team is going to take some doing from a struggling Falcon’s offense against a Carolina defense that looked great last week against Jameis Winston. Passing the football consistently is going to be huge.
Julio Jones and Austin Hooper could both provide match-up problems in this game and give the Falcons an edge.
Matt Ryan will have to continue to pass the ball as he did against the Jets and cut the turnovers. While he may not re-find the MVP level he played at last season he needs to improve his downfield passing attack.
On the Panthers side they will be without their top receiver after dealing Kelvin Benjamin to the Bills for a pick. That will hurt the Panthers passing attack add in a anemic run game and this has all the makings of a defensive battle.
In another must win road game how will the Falcons respond after a rough month? We will find out Sunday when the Falcons and Panthers kick off in Carolina at 1:00 PM EST on FOX.