Yes, the Carolina Panthers are 1-4, but the Atlanta Falcons are not coasting through this season either. They have had their own share of “What was Matty Ice thinking?” and “Why aren’t Turner’s rushing yards gaining momentum in the second half?” moments.
Mike Mularkey has not made a solid game plan for Atlanta to win games, and sitting at 2-3 going into Week 6 against the scrappiest team in the league seems to be quite unfair, yet just.
This will be the game in which the Falcons cannot hide from the truth anymore. If Carolina walks away with the win, which I suppose they will, Atlanta will be faced with the task of restructuring or, for a lack of a better phrase, waking up and realizing that they do not need Matt Ryan to go into a pass-frenzy when just trying to protect the game.
What Carolina needs to do:
Take advantage of Ryan’s need to shine. Even with Mike Turner sitting patiently in the backfield, Ryan continues to launch the ball to Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez or rookie WR Julio Jones. There is nothing wrong with being a double-threaded squad.
However, this way of thinking has not been successful, ever, for the Falcons. Carolina’s pass-rush should be suffocating and the secondary should be solid in man coverage, especially since Jones will not be active due to a hamstring injury he suffered against Green Bay.
Cam Newton will survive Atlanta’s defense just fine with solid time to make his reads. Not comparing him to Mr. Rodgers by any means, but even his TD celebration dance could not stand beside the Championship Belt display. However, after getting solid protection from Green Bay’s O-Line, Rodgers got into a rhythm that proved to be lethal for Atlanta.
The Falcons should not mourn over that loss, however. Rodgers is lethal against anybody. Hell, I would take him over Mr. Giselle any time of the week.
Even though Newton’s effectiveness may not equate that of Rodgers, the couplet of him and Steve Smith could have a field day, pun intended, all over Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes. These men are fierce competitors, but Steve Smith’s athletic grabs in traffic give me faith that he and Newton can produce fantasy-happy numbers.
Cam Newton should have a happy-hometown hello.