The Atlanta Falcons were at the top of our Power Rankings this week after an impressive showing in San Diego Sunday, and at home this week they will look to stretch to 4-0, playing host to Cam Newton and the Panthers.
Matt Ryan has been red hot to start the year for the Falcons, as he owns the best passer rating in the NFL. His primary targets of Roddy White, Julio Jones and TE Tony Gonzalez will be a tall order for the Panthers secondary.
The Falcons have started 2012 with three victories for the first time since a 4-0 start in 2004. Ryan has posted a 114.0 rating and his eight touchdowns are tied for most in the league.
Newton on the other hand is off to a rough start, throwing just two TD passes in the first three Panthers games this year. He’s got to rebound and not only put his arm, but his legs to good use if the Cats are going to win on the road.
Carolina was dominated by the Giants at home a week ago Thursday 36-7, and it saw Newton on the bench in the end, not wanting to watch and support backup QB Derek Anderson.
“I have not hired a sports psychologist,” Newton said. “I have no idea where that came from. I have a strong support system in my teammates, coaches and family. My focus is on improving this week and getting ready to play Atlanta.”
Newton hasn’t been very good so far in the Georgia Dome, getting picked off three times in a 31-17 loss Oct. 16, 2011. Michael Turner ran for 139 yards and two scores to lead Atlanta.
The Falcons secondary is a tough test for anyone, but it will be one that should be able to keep Newton in check, which means if Carolina wants to win, their run game and Newton’s legs will have to do it.
Atlanta is just playing too well right now, and Ryan and those WR’s are too good for the Cats to keep up with all day.
Atlanta 31 Carolina 20