NFL Football

29
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Atlanta 10 10 6 3 29
Carolina 0 0 0 3 3
3
10:00 AM PT11:00 AM MT12:00 PM CT1:00 PM ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 AM MST1:00 PM EST12:00 PM CT22:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00 , November 17, 2019
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina  Weather: 51°, Partly Cloudy  Attendance: 73,106

Falcons-Panthers Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers

  1. The Falcons have had the upper hand in this divisional series in recent years, having won three straight and six of the last seven matchups between the teams. Atlanta is 2-1 at Carolina during that stretch, including a 24-10 victory in Week 16 of last season. Panthers coach Ron Rivera is 6-10 lifetime against the Falcons, the only NFC South team he has a losing record against.
  2. Last week's 26-9 victory at New Orleans was Atlanta's third straight on the road in NFC South play dating back to last December's win at Carolina. The Falcons, who last won four straight divisional road games from Jan. 3-Dec. 12, 2010, are 7-3 away from home vs. the NFC South since 2016. Only Dallas (8-3) has a better road winning percentage among NFC teams within their division in that span.
  3. Christian McCaffrey will be attempting to become the first player with a rushing touchdown in eight consecutive games in the same season since another Panther, DeAngelo Williams, did so in 2008. In 2018, McCaffrey became the first player in the Super Bowl era with two games of 12+ catches against one opponent (Falcons) in a single season.
  4. Matt Ryan has completed 73.1 percent of his pass attempts on the road this season compared to a 63.4 percent rate at home, the second-largest difference (road better) among NFL quarterbacks with at least 175 attempts this season (Russell Wilson, +.114). Carolina's Kyle Allen, meanwhile, has the lowest completion percentage (54.8) in the league in home games (min. 50 attempts).
  5. DJ Moore recorded his second straight game with at least seven receptions and 100 receiving yards in Carolina's Week 10 loss at Green Bay. Only one player in Panthers history - Patrick Jeffers in 1999 - has had three consecutive games with seven or more catches and 100 receiving yards in the same season.
  6. The Panthers lead the NFL with 36 sacks, the most by any team through nine games of a season since the Chiefs also had 36 in 2013. The Falcons' 13 sacks are tied for 30th in the league, but they had a season-high six against the Saints last week.
Team Comparison

Atlanta
 
Carolina
21.2 Points 25.0
319.7 Pass Yds 241.1
76.8 Rush Yds 131.4
4 Takeaways 19
(AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Matt Ryan is coming to town, which tends to mean trouble for the Carolina Panthers.

The Falcons quarterback has dominated the rival Panthers of late, going 6-1 in his past seven starts while averaging 318 yards passing with 15 touchdown passes and only three interceptions.

Ryan is 14-8 against Carolina.

So, while much of the attention this week has been on Carolina's porous run defense - they've allowed opponents to run for a combined 516 yards and 10 touchdowns in the past three games - defensive coordinator Eric Washington knows the Panthers can't forget about old No. 2 and his favorite target Julio Jones.

"We know what he's capable of and they have explosive talent at the wide receiver position," Washington said of Ryan. "So we need to make sure we do a good job of getting him in third down situations they don't want to be in. And we have to be really efficient with our pass rush. The ball tends to come out fast on third-and-medium."

That won't be easy.

Carolina's top cornerback James Bradberry is coming back from a groin injury this week, but the team's second- and third-best cornerbacks Donte Jackson and Ross Cockrell missed the first two days of practice this week with injuries and may not play. That means the Panthers (5-4) could have to lean on young players such as Javien Elliott, Cole Luke and Corn Elder, who was re-signed earlier this week because of injury concerns.

The Falcons (2-7) may not be contending for a playoff spot, but showed last Sunday they still have plenty of life - and firepower - by throttling the Saints 26-9

NEW LOOK AT RUNNING BACK

If Devonta Freeman is held out with a sprained foot, as expected, the Falcons will have a new look at running back. The position was considered to be the team's deepest spot before Ito Smith was placed on injured reserve last week following a concussion and a neck injury.

Brian Hill played well behind Freeman last week and is expected to start. Former Panthers backup Kenjon Barner would be the top backup and Qadree Ollison, who was active for the first time against the Saints, could play a bigger role. Notably, Barner was used in the wildcat formation, filling the role formerly held by Mohamed Sanu before the receiver was traded to New England. There could be more direct snaps for Barner against the Panthers.

NEW KICKER IS A KEEPER

The Falcons may have found their kicker, at least for the remainder of the season, in Younghoe Koo. Koo made four field goals, including a career-long 48-yarder, in last week's win at New Orleans in his Falcons debut. Koo was signed after veteran Matt Bryant's second stint with the team didn't go well and Giorgio Tavecchio couldn't hold the job.

Koo was the NFC special teams player of the week following his successful debut. He made three of six field-goal attempts with the Chargers in 2017 and kicked for the Atlanta Legends of the short-lived Alliance of American Football earlier this year. Koo, from South Korea, played for Georgia Southern.

TACKLE CHANGE

The Panthers drafted Greg Little in the second round earlier this year to be their left tackle, but two concussions have limited him to two games and one start this season.

However, Little has now been cleared from the concussion protocol and is expected to start Sunday at left tackle with Dennis Daley sitting bothered by a groin injury. The Panthers have won both games that Little has played this season.

SACKS SURPRISE

Before last week's game, Atlanta ranked last in the league with only seven sacks. Suddenly the Falcons rediscovered their pass rush with six sacks against the Saints, including 2 1/2 by defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. Vic Beasley Jr., who has been unable to duplicate his 2016 production, when he led the NFL with 15 1/2 sacks, added 1 1/2 sacks.

"To me, it was just a good example to show what we're capable of," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. "If we apply those things time after time, those are the results that we hope to get."

MORE OF MOORE

The Panthers are getting more production of late out of second-year wide receiver D.J. Moore, who is coming off back-to-back 100-yard receiving games for the first time in his career. Moore had seven catches for 101 yards against the Titans two weeks ago and followed that up with a nine-catch, 120-yard performance last week against the Packers. Moore is leading the Panthers in receptions (54) and yards receiving (684). The next goal for him is getting into the end zone - he only has one TD catch.

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Updated November 14, 2019

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