Tale Of The Tape: Atlanta Falcons At Carolina Panthers

Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers
(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Winner The Falcons know that when the ball is in Matt Ryan’s hands, he is going to throw it accurately as long as he gets half-decent protection from the offensive line. That wasn’t the case in the Week Eight loss to the Cardinals, when the Flacons suffered another disappointing defeat and Ryan continued to turn the ball over with alarming frequency.
Suddenly, the Panthers are playing with confidence and maturity. It’s too early to do a complete “buy” on Cam Newton, but he has played much better in recent weeks and nobody is happier about it than head coach Ron Rivera. Newton is buying time with his athleticism and escapability, but he is looking to throw the ball first and take advantage of his athletic receivers.
The Falcons may get wide receiver Roddy White back for this game, and if the star wide receiver is healthy, he would be a welcome addition to this offense. Harry Douglas has shown he can get open and make the occasional big play, while veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez still plays a valuable role on third downs. Running back Jacquizz Rodgers has some escapability.
Winner The Panthers have the kind of talent on offense that can allow them to be a consistent big-play team. DeAngelo Williams can break the long one when he can get to the second level. Veteran Steve Smith should never be overlooked. While he lacks size, he plays a big man’s game and will make the tough catch and then run over the tackler. Greg Olsen is a solid third-down weapon.
The Falcons are an ordinary defensive team who try to make up for in quickness what they lack in size and strength. That’s been a familiar story in Atlanta for years. Safety William Moore is the team’s most consistent tackler and he leads the team in stops and is also a solid pass defender. Former New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora is starting to heat up as a pass rusher.
Winner The Panthers have a tough, physical defense that tries to intimidate the opposition. Carolina ranks third in overall defense and they are led by middle linebacker Luke Kuechly with 56 tackles and five passes defensed. Defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy have combined for 11.0 sacks and have the speed to come around the corner and wreak havoc.
Special Teams
The Falcons are doing a decent job in punt and kickoff coverage, but they are waiting for Jacquizz Rodgers and Douglas to give them a bit of a lift in their own return game. Matt Bosher is a solid directional punter who has had just one touchback thus far.
Winner The Panthers would like to see explosive Ted Ginn catch his punts with a bit more confidence and hit a big return with his speed. Placekicker Graham Gano has been on target all season and has not missed any of his 10 FG attempts. Brad Nortman has dropped 13 of his 25 punts inside the opponents’ 20.

The Winner Is

(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Winner Carolina Panthers
3 out of 4

The Panthers have reeled off three straight wins since laying an egg against the Arizona Cardinals in Week Five. This is a huge game for them as they appear to have the physical edge over an injured Atlanta team and they can’t afford a letdown.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor


  1. OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 20:  Matt Schaub #8 of the Baltimore Ravens takes practice throws during pregame against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 20, 2015 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Johnny Manziel (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
    Week 12 Tale Of The Tape: Baltimore Ravens At Cleveland Browns

    The Ravens have been enduring a most difficult season, and circumstances got even harder last Sunday in the win over the Rams when Joe Flacco’s season came to an end late in the game with an ACL tear.

  2. FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 8:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates a touchdown by LeGarrette Blount #29 in the first half against the Washington Redskins at Gillette Stadium on November 8, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 15:  Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Denver Broncos looks on from the bench Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 15, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Chiefs defeated the Broncos 29-13.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Week 12 Tale Of The Tape: New England Patriots At Denver Broncos

    Tom Brady has had MVP-type numbers and consistently excellent production through the first 10 games of the season.

  3. Ben Roethlisberger Russell Wilson (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Week 12 Tale Of The Tape: Pittsburgh Steelers At Seattle Seahawks

    Ben Roethlisberger appears to be indomitable at the quarterback position, and he is the key to the Steelers’ season.

See All Tales of the Tape
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live