By Danny Cox
The Carolina Panthers are over .500 for the first time in years and they’re playing some really good football. That actually spells disaster for the Atlanta Falcons who will visit Bank of America Stadium this weekend and are playing some of the worst football that the franchise has seen in a long time.
With just two wins on the season and a list of injuries a mile long, the Falcons are sitting at third place in the NFC South with a 2-5 record. Even then, they have the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers to thank for not being in last, and the Falcons two victories came by slim margins over the Bucs and Rams.
Falcons on Offense
The Falcons have the fourth best passing offense in the league, and that should come as no surprise considering they have Matt Ryan at the helm. Should Roddy White be out many more games, and with Julio Jones gone for the season, that ranking may soon drop.
Carolina has a great pass defense too, and not having to guard weapons like White and Jones will make anyone play with less stress.
Making matters worse for Atlanta is that their rushing offense ranks dead last in the NFL. Yes, Steven Jackson has been missing for a few weeks due to injury. Still, his return this past weekend didn’t provide much of anything as he had just six yards on 11 carries.
The offense is truly abysmal and the Panthers are going to have to take advantage of that. With as strong as Carolina has been on defense, it could be really hard for Atlanta to find much scoring on Sunday.
Falcons on Defense
Defensively, the Falcons aren’t looking much better.
So far, they’ve racked up a total of just 17 sacks and four interceptions. Considering how strong their defense has been in recent years, this is not good at all.
With Cam Newton playing like everyone knows he can and the offense firing on all cylinders, this could spell big trouble for Atlanta.
The Falcons really should have done whatever they could to hold onto defensive end John Abraham as pairing him up with Osi Umenyiora would have been a formidable tandem. Now, Umenyiora is having to do things mostly on his own and he isn’t getting a whole lot of help from anyone else.
The loss of Kroy Biermann for the season truly hurt the Falcons defensive line, and a number of other injuries have plagued them. Injuries don’t make it easy for any team to be successful, and that has been one of the contributing factors this season to the poor play of the Falcons.
Carolina needs a win this weekend to keep pace with the New Orleans Saints in the race for the NFC South crown, and it is quite possible to do that with Atlanta coming to town. The Falcons are just not playing good football and it’s going to be hard for them to take down a hot Panthers team.
For more Carolina Panthers news and updates, visit Carolina Panthers Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.