Matty ‘Ice’ Ryan has put on an absolute clinic throwing for 8 TD and just 1 INT on top of 793 yards.
Ryan has played so well that he truly has been the MVP in the NFL through the first month of the season (still one game left).
Making the right reads, checking down to the open receivers and hitting them in stride has allowed the Falcons offense to reach most of its potential.
This of course is all without a running game, since Michael Turner has ran for 154 yards and 2 TD on 42 carries.
The running game has been borderline non-existent, and it is amazing how this team is arguably the best team in football.
Everything is clicking on all cylinders with the magnificent trio of Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez.
The three have been targeted 78 out of the 107 times Atlanta (Ryan) has thrown the ball, which means their playmakers are coming through with the best of them right now.
Carolina’s pass defense looked awful defending Eli Manning and his receivers, and they do not hold a candle to Atlanta’s (especially without Nicks).
Carolina has allowed 243 yards per game, good enough for middle of the pack in the NFL (18th).
The biggest issue for the Panthers has been their inability to stay healthy since they have had a few nagging injuries. Steve Smith was hobbled during the preseason (knee, foot), but Johnathan Stewart departure has been a disaster.
Cam Newton is not the same and his struggles are quite obvious these days whether you pay attention to his on the field or postgame demeanor. Running the Auburn offense has been a joke through three games because the NFL defenses can track it down in their sleep, but that isn’t the biggest concern.
It is vital to show improvement because the rest of the NFC is at their best right now. Newton does not have enough weapons around him to succeed right now.
Plus, a 6-10 season last year was solid and realistically it may not get any better than that at the moment. Carolina is getting owned at the line of scrimmage which means the Falcons relentless front 7 may tee off in a building they get pumped up for every snap.
William Moore, Asante Samuel, Thomas DeCoud and Dunta Robinson are four elite Pro Bowlers that should lockdown the Panthers offense for four quarters. Atlanta’s defense is ranked fourth in points allowed per game (16) and they have a chance to be the early story of the NFL season (outside of the officiating).
Network: FOX (704)
Time: 1 p.m. Eastern
Experts Pick: Falcons by 7
Danny V’s Pick: Falcons 27, Panthers 17