Friday, November 1, 2013

My pick: Panthers to beat Atlanta Sunday

There is sometimes a big difference in sports in the games you should win and the games you actually win.

The Panthers hope that difference doesn't bite them Sunday against Atlanta in a game they definitely should win -- but a game that is dangerous.

The Falcons are 2-5 and seem to have lost their mojo, as well as star wide receiver Julio Jones. They are a desperate team with a quarterback (Matt Ryan) that still knows how to beat the Panthers, having gone 7-3 against them in Ryan's career.

Paced by quarterback Cam Newton (above) and a stingy defense ranked No.3 in the NFL in total yards allowed, Carolina (4-3) has won four of its last five and enters November with a winning record for the first time since 2008. Atlanta has lost four of its last five.

This game should be easier than the next two for Carolina -- at San Francisco Nov.10 and home against New England Nov.18 on Monday Night Football. But if the Panthers mess this one up at home, it's a major black mark on a season that has so much promise.

-- The Panthers should have some confidence going in given that they drilled Atlanta, 30-20, in the teams' last meeting in December in Charlotte. That was the game where Newton scored on a 72-yard touchdown run and somersaulted into the end zone -- still one of the best plays in Carolina history.

-- Watch out for Atlanta receiver Harry Douglas Sunday. Douglas has been the go-to guy by default the past two weeks for Ryan given that Jones is out and Roddy White has also been hurt, and he's got enough speed to hurt the Panthers if they aren't careful.

-- If you want one stat on why Newton has been better this season, check out his quarterback rating on third downs. He's at a startling 122.7, highest in the league on the NFL's most critical down.

-- Expect the Panthers to pound the ball at Atlanta Sunday, as the Falcons have had trouble stopping the run all season. Assuming Jonathan Stewart plays, we will probably see a little less of Mike Tolbert.

-- I've picked the Panthers' outcome correctly the past five weeks in a row. To go for the six-pack, I will say Carolina beats Atlanta, 24-13.


Mike Jones said...

I hope we still get to see alot of Tolbert. He has definately proved himself as a bruiser back and fights for yards after contact. Over the past few games, he has been a factor picking up 1st downs when we need them and scoring when his number is called. I would hate to seee that go away.

Anonymous said...

The score you're predicting sounds about right, Scott. But this is still a nervy game. The Falcons have mostly handled the Panthers in recent years, except last year. Hope the Panthers use all three running backs, including passing to them That could wear Atlanta out. Must get presure on Ryan.

Lance said...

It sounds better if you say the #1 scoring defense in the NFL :)

Anonymous said...

Not sure why we have Barner in the mix, We need to take a good look at Stewart and see if hes going to be competitive the rest of the year.Can`t imagine who was deactivated to allow 4 rb`s ,I think we need to look at the new tightend and Hixon if healthy,I think all panther fans should take in every running play that stewy carries and see if hes going to be more effective than Tobert. Is all about winning...JUST SAYING

Anonymous said...

there is no easy game ,Ron have them ready to go you know its going to be a battle,Do not dare lift, These will be he games that tell if we`ll be in the playoffs.Sooner or later your going to need Ginns Speed to go deep if not this game then the next 2 for sure,Why aren`t we calling the wing back fly a least 2 times a game just for coninuity between Cam and Ginn just for when we have to make a quick strike???????Dont worry about Steves numbers...ITS ALL ABOUT WINNING!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Panthers will and in the process make a statement to the 49ers' Saints, Dolphins and Patriots. 30 points is enough to beat most teams and probably enough to beat these. But I see more pieces of the puzzle in place for the second half of the season. It seems like every team we have played so far we put players out of the game. Atlanta has a few, but Monsters Inc. is respected in the league. Then there is Mitchell, every WR knows he hits that's his style. Why Mitchell is getting fined without penalties is beyond me. This is a contact sport so expect to get hit. Plus the other DB's are laying down the wood also. Here's my prediction. Panthers win 48-3. Edwards and Stewart have something to prove.