Friday, December 7, 2012

Panthers-Falcons prediction and some pregame notes

If the Carolina Panthers are ever going to get to where they compete regularly for the NFC South title, they are going to have to start owning Interstate 85 instead of paying the Falcons a toll every time they drive on it.

Although New Orleans won a Super Bowl with Drew Brees after the 2009 season, the Falcons have been the most consistent team in the division since head coach Mike Smith took over in 2008. This is Smith’s fifth season, and he is 54-22. That’s ridiculously good. Ron Rivera, by comparison, is 9-19.

The Falcons have also beaten Carolina five times in a row.

The Falcons (11-1) have a collection of great skill players and enough good players everywhere else that they are in every game and win most of them. The only real blot on their team’s resume is the lack of a Super Bowl win. And it might happen this year.

I thought Carolina (3-9) actually outplayed the Falcons back on Sept.30 in the Georgia Dome, but Atlanta made the plays at the end to win. That game was a huge part of each team’s season, sending them in far different directions.

-- Atlanta will be quite a test for Cam Newton, who hasn’t committed a turnover in any of the past three games and has actually raised his quarterback rating to slightly above the level that it was during his rookie year of 2011. The Falcons intercepted Brees five times last week.

-- Newton said something interesting this week when I asked him how the team will find motivation the rest of the season. “First, personally, nothing’s in stone right now,” Newton said. “We know what’s going on in this franchise, and we know that the head of the franchise [Panther owner Jerry Richardson] is in search of the formula to win. With people knowing that, you better start putting something successful on film, personally, or the hourglass will be cut short for a lot of people. Nothing’s safe -- not even myself.”

-- Matt Ryan threw the ball 40 times the first time the two teams played. Michael Turner – who almost always creams the Panthers – only had 13 carries. Turner gained 103 yards on those carries, and if I’m the Falcons, I’d feed it to him at least 20 times Sunday. That would also help Ryan stay off the ground – the Panthers sacked him seven times in September.

-- The Panthers have lost 13 straight coin tosses this season (12 for the opening kickoff, one in overtime). The odds of losing 14 straight coin tosses are 1 in 16,384.

-- After incorrectly picking the Panthers to beat Kansas City a week ago, I’m no better than a coin flip myself on their games, with a 6-6 record. My prediction for Sunday: Atlanta 24, Carolina 21.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Scott your score is way too close. Falcons 34, US-10.......Sorry, but this could be a blowout by the Falcons

Neil Rankin said...

The Falcons expose the biggest weakness in the Panthers defense, pass coverage. The coaches seem to think that playing soft coverage reduces the risk of a big play. It doesn't. See article on Nakamura. All it does is give Atlanta the ability to pick up short passes, especially on 3rd down, at will. This will likely be a demoralizing loss for the Panthers.

A Young said...

Having been a fan since day one....I believe that the team CAN win on Sunday but won't. Thanks to Steve Smith for staying and bringing the energy of the field but it seems that the rest of the team goes into that "Here we go again" mode when the game is on the line and can't seem to pull it together to win those close games. I believe that the team wants to win.....but it's just not there. Does it come from coaching....Cam working the sidelines and the huddle???

swizzle52 said...

Neil, I believe the demoralizing loss came in week 4 against this same team. I don't think there are any more demoralizing loses this year. Lets just hope we get through the rest of the season without any major injuries to anyone. I'd love to beat both NO and Atlanta this year, but I honestly don't think it will happen as both those teams are better coached than the Panthers. Hopefully the tide will change under whoever the new GM is and this organization gets a little attitude!! Until then, I'm still gonna say GO PANTHERS!!!

Anonymous said...

At least that moron Ron Rivera and Dudzinski will be one game closer to being fired. THAT day cannot come soon enough. Even with the problems we have on this roster, to be 9-19 is not acceptable. This team isnt trending upwards Rivera....time to start packing boxes.

Michael Procton said...

Neil, not sure where you're coming from, but this team is in the top ten in the league for both passing yards and TDs allowed.

Anonymous said...

This is a horrible team combined with horrible coaching.... They are not winning and no on cares until next season

Anonymous said...

we'll win if we have 11 Steve Smith play in the game.
He is only real warrior on the team.

Anonymous said...

Atlanta gives us our biggest whooping since the 1-18 season (remember that debacle?)

Anonymous said...

People who say the Panther's suck, are just factually wrong. If you look at our league stats, we're in the top half or near that in almost every category. I'd have to say, that sounds like a pretty good team, but the record doesn't reflect that.... what gives? It's bad coaching, too many noobs in our coaching staff.

Anonymous said...

Falcons by 50 ....

Despise that other bunch ...


Go Falcons !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Greg Hardy guaranteed a win.He wouldn't open his big yapper unless he could back it up.Right???

Anonymous said...

The Falcons haven't won a playoff game under Mike Smith, and you say the only blot on the resume is no Super Bowl. I don't get it. Can you please explain what you mean?

Anonymous said...

Hey Neil Rankin...demoralizing was a couple of months ago...where have YOU been. LOL

Anonymous said...

Atlanta will enjoy their one playoff game this year as well.

Anonymous said...

After all the hype, the Panthers should be playing like their jobs depended on it. It does. IF Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson pump it up and put Ryan on his backside 7 or 8 times....they stop Turner..double up on Gonzales, Jones, and White all at the same time....then Cam and company put up 30+ points...then yes...they can win.

Anonymous said...

Losing has become acceptable to the Panthers and that's because they are good at it. By the time they figure out how to be a winning team, Smith will be retired watching Kuechly playing for the Bears.

josephmcnulty said...

34-10 -- Falcons, sounds about right to me. I predict that Cam Newton will be on the bench, getting a rest, in the second half (with the game out of hand). In all the twisting and turning about the Panthers' season, the sad fact that is overlooked is that the Panthers are just NOT a very good term. The offensive line is weak; the defensive line is only occasionally effective in bringing pressure, and the secondary cannot cover and get exposed unless the line brings distracting pressure. I do not know that this is Rivera's "fault," but he has been singularly ineffectual in shaking things up or doing anything about it. The firing of Marty Hurney (and then the special terms coach,) indicated that Rivera is not long for this world. If the Panthers are blown out Sunday, it may be Rivera's swan song.

Anonymous said...

I'm just glad it looks like Armanti Edwards is finally going to get some meaningful playing time at WR! Hopefully he will do well. Either way, we'll finally know if he can contribute in this role.