The Falcons are off to the best start imaginable as they are 3-0 and flying high. On the flip side, the Carolina Panthers are 1-2 and coming off of a 29 point blow out at the hands of the defending Super Bowl Champions. Everything points to the Falcons being able to win this game. Sounds like an easy bet if that's your thing but let's not start signing up for our players rewards card just yet. Just like any other NFL game, anything can happen. Let's take a look at some things the Falcons must do to win this game.
We got rid of BVG in favor of Mike Nolan! Hooray!
I'm not talking about the running game here. I'm talking about the Falcons not buying into their own hype. Right now, pundits have the Falcons as the second best team in the league. The Falcons didn't get to this point by resting on their laurels and they can't start now. The Falcons have had success because they are executing what the coaching are telling them to do and the plays Matt Ryan is audibling into. Simply put, the Falcons need to continue doing what they have been doing since week one and that's executing the gameplan.
The difference between the games Carolina has won and lost this year, yes small sample size...I know, has been Cam Newton's ability to run the football. In their losses he has ten total yards rushing. In the game they won he had 71 yards, including a 40 yarder. When you go back and look at 2010 you will see that Cam rushed for at least 50 yards in all of their wins but one. Cam running the football successfully won't single-handedly beat the Falcons but it will open things up for the rest of their offense. Contain Cam's ability to run the football and the Panthers will struggle to move the football which in turn will cause Cam to make some iffy decisions.
Make Plays in the Secondary
So far this year the Falcons secondary, specifically the safety position, has been playing lights out. Thomas DeCoud and William Moore have been making plays and it has helped the Falcons swing the momentum to their favor. Mike Nolan's defense has allowed the young safeties to freelance and if Kroy Bierman and John Abraham can continue to get to the QB, Cam has proven he is more than willing to turn the ball over.
In case you missed it, make sure you check out our contest we have going on this week. Whoever comes closest to guessing the score of the Falcons/Panthers game this weekend will win a new book about the Falcons by Ray Glier and Knox Bardeen!