NFL Football

23
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Carolina 3 17 0 3 23
Atlanta 7 0 3 6 16
16
10:00 AM PT11:00 AM MT12:00 PM CT1:00 PM ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 AM MST12:00 PM EST12:00 PM CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00 , October 11, 2020
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia  Attendance: 6,656

Panthers-Falcons Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons

  1. Atlanta has won five straight games against the Panthers, and eight of the last nine. That's one shy of the longest winning streak all-time by either side -- the Falcons won six in a row from 2000-2002. Atlanta has won each of the last three meetings by at least 14 points.
  2. Carolina beat Arizona, 31-21, last week, and have now won back-to-back games following a 10-game losing streak dating back to Week 10 of last season. Since the start of the 2019 season, the Panthers are 5-1 when allowing 21 points or fewer, and 2-12 when allowing over 21 points.
  3. The Falcons lost to the Packers, 30-16, in Green Bay on Monday, and have now started 0-4 for the ninth time in franchise history and the first time since 1999. They've also allowed at least 30 points in four straight games within a single season for just the fourth time. They also did so in 2007, 1993, and 1966 (five straight).
  4. Mike Davis ran for 84 yards in the win over Arizona, the second-highest total of his career -- he had 101 yards in a game with the Seahawks in 2018, which was also in Week 4 and also against the Cardinals. Davis has one career start against the Falcons -- he had 18 yards on six carries in Week 11, 2017.
  5. Todd Gurley ran for 57 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to Green Bay on Monday. It's the first season in his career that he's rushed for at least 50 yards in each of his first four games. It was his 13th career game with at least 50 rushing yards and two touchdowns, four more than anyone else since 2015.
  6. Carolina is one of five teams this season to not allow any points on its opponent's first drive of the game, forcing a punt on each one so far and allowing just one total first down. Dating back to the last two games of 2019, Atlanta has three touchdowns and a field goal on their last six game-opening drives.
Team Comparison

Carolina
 
Atlanta
24.8 Points 26.5
286.8 Pass Yds 311.5
116.3 Rush Yds 101.8
7 Takeaways 5
(AP Photo/Tom Lynn)

ATLANTA (AP) With Teddy Bridgewater showing promise as a long-term replacement for Cam Newton and Mike Davis flourishing as a short-term substitute for Christian McCaffrey, the Carolina Panthers are emerging as a surprise in the NFC South.

It's just the sort of resiliency that has escaped the Atlanta Falcons, who have been unable to recover from a rash of injuries in their 0-4 start entering Sunday's NFC South rivalry game.

Led by Bridgewater's accurate passing, the Panthers (2-2) have won two straight games. Bridgewater has completed 73% of his passes, third best in the NFL. He is disproving doubters who may have thought he would be outclassed in a division Falcons coach Dan Quinn labeled "Quarterback South."

Tampa Bay's signing of Tom Brady gave the NFC South three of the league's top 10 career passers. Drew Brees, Brady and Atlanta's Matt Ryan are on that list while Bridgewater, the former backup to Brees in New Orleans, was just trying to prove he could handle a starting role.

Bridgewater's accuracy has the Panthers winning. The matchup with the struggling Falcons provides an opportunity to add to his modest total of only four TD passes. Atlanta has allowed 13 touchdown passes, the most in the NFL.

A Falcons secondary already depleted by injuries must overcome the loss of safety Damontae Kazee, who will miss the remainder of the season with a torn Achilles tendon. Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris hopes to have defensive end Takk McKinley and possibly safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen back this week.

"We've got to do a better job of surviving and advancing and playing the right way," Morris said.

Carolina's young defense, which starts three rookies, is on the upswing.

After allowing 67 points and failing to get a sack in their first two games, the Panthers gave up 37 points in the past two games. The unit is beginning to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Brian Burns remains Carolina's top pass rusher, but rookie Yetur Gross-Matos had a big sack-fumble last week that led to a touchdown.

"I thought the defense has really bought into playing hard and playing fast," Carolina coach Matt Ruhle said. "I'm beginning to hear that from people all across the league, like `hey, I watched your tape, you guys are flying around,' which is a credit to our players."

QUINN HOPING FOR TURNAROUND

Injuries have played a major role in a regression for the Atlanta defense which showed improvement in the second half of the 2019 season. The Falcons won their last four games last season to save coach Dan Quinn's job. Quinn's job status again is the subject of weekly speculation.

Quinn hopes a turnaround begins with Atlanta's first division game.

"Honestly it really comes down to us and all of the things that we need to do," Quinn said. "We have to stop beating ourselves."

FULL DOSE OF DAVIS

Davis should be busy with Reggie Bonnafon joining McCaffrey on injured reserve, each with a high ankle sprain. Davis has 202 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns since replacing McCaffrey. Davis has 21 catches on 23 targets for 146 yards receiving and a touchdown. Carolina's only other experienced running back is Trenton Cannon.

LOOKING FOR HELP

The Falcons on Thursday signed safety J.J. Wilcox to the practice squad, adding depth. It is a return for Wilcox, who was signed by the Falcons last year before spending the season on injured reserve. The team released safety Jamal Carter from the practice squad on Wednesday.

Safeties Ricardo Allen (elbow) and Keanu Neal (hamstring) and rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell (COVID-19 reserve list) were held out in Monday night's 30-16 loss at Green Bay. Terrell was activated to the active roster on Thursday, but his status for the game is uncertain.

Cornerback Darqueze Dennard (hamstring) also is out while backup safety Jaylinn Hawkins is recovering from a concussion.

ANDERSON'S IMPACT

D.J. Moore was expected to be Carolina's No. 1 receiver coming into the season, but free agent pickup Robby Anderson has been more productive with two 100-yard games. Anderson added 99 more last week against the Cardinals. His 377 yards receiving are sixth most in the NFL.

"Robby is just one of those guys, he comes in, he doesn't say anything, he's all football," Bridgewater said. "He understands that he's here for a reason and he's just been executing at a high level for us."

JULIO HURTING

Julio Jones missed the second half against Green Bay after aggravating a hamstring injury that caused him to miss the previous week against Chicago. Jones has a history of finding a way to play games after missing practice time because of injuries, but he is finding it is difficult to play through this hamstring injury.

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Updated October 8, 2020

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