Scott Fowler

Despite 5-game losing streak, Falcons are dangerous

Panthers vs Falcons with Jonathan and Joe

Charlotte Observer writers Jonathan Jones and Joe Person discuss the Panthers vs Falcons game on Sunday.
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Charlotte Observer writers Jonathan Jones and Joe Person discuss the Panthers vs Falcons game on Sunday.

The Atlanta Falcons of 2015 remind me to some extent of the Carolina Panthers of 2014.

Remember how Carolina went two months without a victory in 2014 – despite having a lot of talent on the field? That’s Atlanta right now. I can’t see how the Falcons have lost five games in a row, but they have. A team that was once 5-0, and then 6-1, has dropped to 6-6. Atlanta hasn’t won since Oct. 25.

Still, the Falcons have some scary good offensive skill players. And Matt Ryan – if he has time – remains an accurate quarterback. This is no gimme. Atlanta is going to break out of the doldrums sometime in December.

▪  Here’s a weird stat, courtesy of the Falcons: Ryan has thrown for at least 200 yards in 38 consecutive road games. So expect 200-plus Sunday. Ryan will throw an occasional bad interception, however, and the Panthers have feasted on such throws several times over the past two years.

▪  Expect a lo-o-o-ong Cam Newton touchdown dance Sunday if he scores – and it won’t just be dabbin’. Newton always has something special in mind when he plays the Falcons, his hometown team.

▪  Enjoy the weather, Panthers fans. A day this pretty in December must mean you are living right.

▪  OK, prediction time. Carolina needs to control this game on the ground – shutting down Atlanta’s two fine running backs and gaining more than 100 rushing yards, as usual, on offense. The Falcons are capable of scoring 30 on a good day; the Panthers need to make sure it’s not a good day. My pick: Carolina 34, Atlanta 24.

Fowler: sfowler@charlotteobserver.com; Twitter: @scott_fowler

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