Cam Newtons first game in his Atlanta hometown went so well last season that he ran off the field at the Georgia Dome without bothering to shake anyones hand following the Falcons 31-17 victory. Newton threw three interceptions in the loss, and threw three more last week in a 36-7 defeat to the Giants. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski can take some of the pressure off Newton by calling more running plays, which also will keep the Falcons high-powered offense on the sideline if the Panthers are successful. Atlanta is 24th in the league at stopping the run.
Dont dig a hole
The Panthers have played from behind every game, thanks to a defense that has allowed 80-yard touchdown drives on its opponents opening series three consecutive weeks. The Falcons are the only NFL team to score a touchdown on their first drive in every game. Its imperative the defense force an early punt and give Chudzinski a chance to stick to his game plan.
The Panthers have had their troubles in recent years defending tight ends. Someone named Martellus Bennett caught six passes for 73 yards and a touchdown against them last week. Now the Panthers get future Hall-of-Famer Tony Gonzalez, a 6-foot-5 headache. The Panthers need to prevent Gonzalez from getting a free release into the secondary. The same also goes for the wideouts, for that matter. The Carolina zone was way too soft against the Giants. Joseph Person