Panthers versus Falcons factors


Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons key factors

The Atlanta Falcons are in Charlotte and today is the day when they will be playing the Carolina Panthers for the first of two times, in a span of three weeks.

It is very odd that the NFL schedule makers have two teams play each other twice in two weeks, especially divisional rivals, but sometimes that is just the way the cookie crumbles.

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Playing each other twice in the short time span is not ideal for the Panthers, or the Falcons, but ‘it is what it is.’

So with these two divisional rivals playing each other in the short time span, what should be watched as the most important factors in the game?

By the way, you do know that the Panthers and the Falcons really do not like each other, right?

The first key factor in the game is what everyone is going to be watching – the matchup between Falcons’ wide receiver Julio Jones and Panthers’ cornerback Josh Norman.

Norman has proven himself to be a shutdown corner, each number one receiver he has faced this year to either be limited on the receptions, or had the opposing quarterback not even throw in Norman’s direction.

However, Jones is a little bit of a different breed.  Jones is clearly the only thing the Falcons have going for them in the passing game, as he has 102 receptions for 1,338 yards and six touchdowns on the season.

Second, will Matt Ryan be a factor in the game?  The word ‘factor’ can be looked at in two different ways.  One, factor as being efficient in the passing game and racking up big passing yardage.  Two, factor being efficient in the passing game by turning the ball over to the Panthers.

Dec 6, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) runs the ball in the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay defeated Atlanta 23-19. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Lastly, will Devonta Freeman return to form.  Freeman had a stretch of four out of five one hundred yard games.  However, in his last three games, he has not reached 50 yards rushing.  Plus the Panthers have such a strong defense…..

Come back tomorrow to see how these factors impacted the game.