The Carolina Panthers host the NFL’s best team in the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. My suggestion is find something else to do. Go see a movie, play video games or even play a little golf as any of these options will be a better use of your time.
The Atlanta Falcons are running on all cylinders. They are perfect inside the NFC South. Michael Turner is rumbling through defenders once again. Matt Ryan is making clutch play after clutch play. This is a team that has more on its mind than just making the playoffs.
The Carolina Panthers are on the other side of the spectrum. They have zero wins inside the division, they do have a running game after about 10 weeks and Jimmy Clausen’s performance depends on which side of the bed he happens to wake up on. He’s either really bad or good enough so that the Panthers can lose on their final drive. They are looking towards having the first overall pick for the first time.
If for some reason you do happen to watch the game, here are a few things to watch.
First, it will be good to see if Carolina keeps its trend going with rivals. The first time the Panthers play a division opponent they are actually quite competitive. Against the Bucs they were good until Josh Freeman made a great third down conversion to tight end Kellen Winslow Jr.
Against the Saints the first time the Panthers had a chance to win the game until two consecutive plays for a total of -8 yards took them out of field goal range. The Panthers are usually competitive for the first part of the game, so there’s something to look forward to.
Second, I have been impressed with the Panthers ability to run the ball lately. They’ve rushed for over 100 yards against the Ravens, Browns and Seahawks. Mike Goodson has rejuvenated part of the offense and having Jonathan Stewart back has made life better as well.
Third, if you are still watching the game and the Panthers look like they are already in the offseason, don’t be afraid to cheer for Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Tony Gonzalez and Matt Bryant. These guys will help the Falcons represent the NFC South in the playoffs.
More importantly, each one is on my fantasy team and the playoffs have begun. If the Panthers aren’t competitive, is it too much to ask that Ryan and Turner just explode for career games?
It would be great if the Panthers could make a game of it and, dare I say it, win but if they just aren’t feeling like playing like an NFL team maybe they could find comfort in that they’re supporting my quest for a fantasy football championship.