TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 4: Carolina Panthers At Atlanta Falcons

Panthers
Falcons
New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers
Denver Broncos v Atlanta Falcons
Quarterback
The Panthers may have the most spectacular second-year quarterback in the league in Cam Newton, but he is anything but consistent. He not only had a poor game against the Giants – 0 TDs and 3 interceptions – but he lost his cool and has a lot of growing up to do.
Winner Unfortunately for Matt Ryan, his hot start this season is not going to prove anything to his critics. Not only does he have to sustain it during the season, he must play at an elite level when the Falcons get to the postseason. He is an accurate passer with excellent field vision.
Offense
The Panthers want to establish that they can run the ball in order to take some of the pressure off of Newton. DeAngelo Williams is capable of doing just that. Wide receiver Steve Smith is still a first-rate threat who can go deep and make the tough catch over the middle. Tight end Greg Olsen has glue-like hands.
Winner The Falcons have an array of weapons to help Ryan get the job done. Wide receiver Roddy White is strong, tough and consistent. Julio Jones has explosive speed and is improving. Tight end Tony Gonzalez turned back the clock in a 9-catch effort against the Chargers.
Defense
The Panthers barely showed up defensively in the loss to the Giants. Eli Manning torched them and the Giants ground game got well against them. Head coach Ron Rivera won’t put up with this much longer. Rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly is a big-time tackler, but he needs help from his teammates.
Winner The Falcons defense was on top of its game against the Chargers, shutting down quarterback Philip Rivers on his home turf. The Falcons depend on their speed, quickness and positioning on defense. Cornerback Asante Samuel is giving the Atlanta secondary a major lift while linebacker Sean Weatherspoon is a big hitter.
Special Teams
Winner The Panthers made a huge move to improve their punt- and kickoff-return coverage teams during the offseason and they held the Giants down in both areas. This could be a key advantage for Carolina throughout the season.
Placekicker Matt Bryant has a solid leg and head coach Mike Smith has confidence in him. The Falcons don’t figure to get many big plays from their special teams.

The Winner Is

Denver Broncos v Atlanta Falcons
Winner Falcons
3 out of 4

The Falcons are off to an eye-opening 3-0 start, and they look determined to take the NFC South and secure one of the top two spot in the NFC postseason rankings. There’s one problem to that kind of thinking. There’s still 13 games left in the regular season and the Falcons have the look of a team that may be peaking early. Still, they should be able to handle the enigmatic Panthers.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. Colin Dunlap Zeise-300x225
    Tale Of The Tape: Wiffle Ball Teams Of Pittsburgh Sports Personalities

    In this week’s draft of anything and everything, Starkey and Mueller drafted Wiffle ball teams made up of only Pittsburgh sports personalities.

  2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) (Photo by Steve Powell /Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Most Iconic Sports Images Of All-Time

    In this week’s draft of anything and everything, Starkey and Mueller drafted their favorite/most iconic sports images of all-time.

  3. Barry Bonds (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Best Batting Stances Of All-Time

    In honor of Jung Ho Kang’s big leg kick and home run last night, Starkey and Mueller drafted the best batting stances of all-time. The sixth pick is our favorite pitching motion of all-time.

See All Tales of the Tape