I’ve already gone on record this week in the newspaper and online saying that “Good Jake” will make a reappearance against the Falcons. I just don’t see Jake Delhomme having three nightmares in a row.
Of course many of you don’t believe that: my column expressing that opinion this week drew more than 250 comments directly on the story and e-mailed to me (most of them from Jake haters).
I still believe Delhomme isn’t done, however, and I don’t think he will lose the Falcons game on his own. With that said, Delhomme is only one of the Panthers’ concerns in Georgia. Atlanta stands as the favorite to win the NFC South this season: the Falcons have top-notch skill players, a sound philosophy and an emerging defense.
-- Steve Smith and DeAngelo Williams are speedsters, and as such they always look faster on artificial turf like that in the Georgia Dome. I expect both to have far better games than they did in that 38-10 pounding Philadelphia laid on the Panthers in Week 1.
-- I have always liked the Falcons-Panthers series, in part because it seems to be high on the weirdness factor. That started in Carolina’s first-ever game – an overtime loss at Atlanta in 1995 in which Dom Capers wanted to go for a game-winning two-pointer at the end of regulation, only to be undone by an offensive tackle’s false start.
My prediction: Atlanta 27, Carolina 23.
And now to the stats -- a new feature of my weekly prediction on the Panthers:
My year to date record predicting the Panthers: 1-0.
My preseason prediction of Panthers' 2009 record: 7-9.
Likelihood that my preseason record was too high: 60 percent.
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11 months ago