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Carolina looks to build momentum against Atlanta

The Carolina Panthers face the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday hoping to get another victory after an impressive victory of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


In a 21-3 upset, Carolina played its' best football on the season, and now heads to Georgia to make it two in a row.


These teams come off polarizing games as the Panthers dominated while the Falcons got bombarded by the Cincinnati Bengals.


In this game for Carolina it is imperative to limit the rushing offense, and exploit a weak Atlanta passing defense. Carolina must build momentum off the impressive win a week ago as well.


Without further deliberation let's further explore these keys to a victory for the Panthers.


TAKE AWAY THE RUN GAME


The Atlanta Falcons ranked fourth in rushing yards per game at 156.9. The passing game averaged 151.7 yards per game, which ranked 31st in the league.


It is evident that Carolina must stuff the running game at the line.



Now, the Falcons must rely on Caleb Huntley and Tyler Allgeier to fill in for Cordarrelle Patterson who is on the IR. In 2021, Carolina held the standout RB to under 60 yards a piece in both games. These committee used by Atlanta is not as talented as Patterson, but the defense must remain stout for this game.


If the Panthers can stop the run, then Atlanta becomes more one-dimensional on offense. It puts the Falcons in a tougher spot because it must use the passing game more, one without its’ top receiver in Calvin Ridley. While Drake London performed well in his absence, he is no Ridley, at least not yet.


PASS PASS PASS


In the win against Tampa Bay, the offense featured a healthy balance of run and pass. D’Onta Foreman rushed for 118 yards on 15 carries. The receiving core accounted for 177 yards while the running game combined for 173. Overall, balanced in the absence of Christian McCaffrey after the trade.



But for this contest Carolina must exploit a weak pass defense.



For 2022, the Atlanta defense allowed 306 passing yards per game, which ranked last. In the last three games, the Falcons ranked last but the yards per game swelled to 368.7. Easy to see that the Atlanta defense struggles against the pass.


PJ Walker showed a solid performance in the Bucs game as he threw for 177 yards and two touchdowns on 16-for-22 passing. He showed a strong connection with DJ Moore as he targeted him 10 times, by far the most of any Carolina player. But if the Panthers mix in more of Shi Smith or continue to target Terrace Marshall Jr., then it creates more problems for a weak Atlanta pass defense.


BUILD MOMENTUM


Discussed this when Carolina won against the Saints earlier in the year, but build off the win. Beating Tom Brady while holding his offense to three is impressive for any team. But the black and blue must continue that intense play on defense.


Carolina allowed 322 yards in the game against the Bucs, and allowed a 2-for-12 conversion rate on third down. What is impressive is the low rate of success for Tampa Bay. This was the best the Panthers did on third down in the 2022 season.



This is also a divisional game, and while every game is important, a 3-5 record and 3-0 in the division boosts Carolina to second.


The game kicks off at 1 p.m. on Sunday






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