Atlanta Falcons: 3 Bold predictions vs. Panthers, Week 11

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images /
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Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images /

3. Defensive dominance from Week 10 will take a step back

So far this season, the Atlanta defense has been one of the worst defenses in the NFL, allowing opposing offenses to operate fairly freely throughout the course of a contest and has fed into the Falcons falling to 2-7 on the year leading into the Week 11 slate of games around the league.

In last week’s surprising win over the Saints, however, the Falcons defense put on a show and held the New Orleans offense in check for really the first time all season. Atlanta, which recorded six total sacks in that victory in Week 10 on the road, held Drew Brees and the Saints offense to no touchdowns in the contest, which is tough to do against that squad especially on their home field.

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Atlanta could have figured something out that has worked well for it and could continue that momentum moving forward for the remainder of the year, but the Falcons will have their hands full once again in Week 11 on Sunday in Carolina, and it will be more surrounding the running game rather than the passing attack.

For the Panthers, they obviously contain and are led on the ground by star running back Christian McCaffrey, who has been one of the top-performing players around the NFL coming into the game this weekend.

McCaffrey has tallied 989 yards rushing on the ground, a mark that ranks third-best in the league behind Minnesota Vikings’ Dalvin Cook (991) and Cleveland Browns’ Nick Chubb (1,011). The young running back has tallied a total of 185 carries with 11 rushing touchdowns, averaging 5.3 yards per carry on the ground.

As a team, Carolina’s running game has been a dominant force for a majority of the season, which will present some challenges to Atlanta and its defensive group on Sunday. The Panthers are averaging 131.4 yards per game on the ground, which ranks seventh in the NFL.

The Falcons could surprise us all once again and put on a dominant defensive performance on Sunday in a key divisional game against the Panthers, but it’s likely we see Atlanta’s defense take a step back in the game while having its hands full for the second straight week.