The Falcons punished the Panthers 45-28 on there last visit to Atlanta. Falcons’ Coach Mike Smith is 8-1 in Atlanta. So, the Panthers will have to play a almost flawless game to win in Atlanta. The Falcons gave up 4.4 yards per carry last week against the Dolphins so look for the Panthers to keep the ball on the ground with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. The Falcons had 4 sacks last week and the Panthers allowed 5 of them last week against the Eagles so Jake Delhomme could be under some pressure. The key to Delhomme is to relax as it’s better to throw the ball away than force it into double or triple coverage. After all, the Eagles intercepted 3 passes intended for Steve Smith last week. Still, if the running game is effective then the Panthers can go deep to Steve Smith against the Falcons.
This a bad matchup for the Panthers’ defense. They allowed 185 yards rushing (5.8 ypc) against the Eagles and the Falcons have better RBs than them. Michael Turner only had 65 yards rushing last week which makes him even more dangerous than usual this week. He rushed for 117 yards and 4 TDs last year against the Panthers in Atlanta. But, Matt Ryan will balance the Falcons’ offense with passes to Roddy White, Michael Jenkins and Tony Gonzalez. If the Falcons are successful in protecting Matt Ryan from DE Julius Peppers he will have a field day throwing the football.
PREDICTION: FALCONS 31, PANTHERS 16