You knew who dropped the F Bomb. But, as you settle in to watch the Panthers rematch with the 1 in last season’s 15-1 here are a few things to be aware of and to look for today.
Yes, the blueprint is out on how to beat the Panthers and that is to get pressure on Cam and rattle his cage. Last week the Vikings sacked Cam eight times and this week the Panthers are shuffling their Offensive Line with Michael Oher sitting this one out with a concussion. Mike Remmers moves from right tackle to left tackle. And my guy, Darryl Williams gets the nod at right tackle. See what I thought of Daryl when he was coming out in the draft a couple of years ago. He also was the highest rated offensive tackle in preseason a year ago. He looked a little less impressive this preseason but he has the tools to play and play well in this league.
The Falcons only have three sacks through three games. So watch and see if the Falcons are getting pressure on Cam early. If they are, it will be a long day and a long season most likely. But if, as I suspect, Cam has time and can get the ball out quickly, then look for a big day.
Slow Down Devonta Freeman
This guy is the difference in this offense. Julio Jones is a stud and he will get his. But Devonta Freeman averaged 10.9 yards per carry last week against the New Orleans Aints. And his partner-in-crime Tevin Coleman ran for three TDs. No, the Panthers are not the Aints on D, but to win, the Panthers cannot let the Falcons get going on the ground. It is worth stating that the Falcons are the League’s number one scoring offense (Averaging 34.5 points per game). Remember they played Tampa, Oakland and New Orleans. Let’s see how they do this week.
Turnovers and Penalties
I’m still optimistic about the 2016 Panthers. However, one trend is quite disturbing. The Panthers are not showing discipline. Ten penalties, three interceptions and eight sacks last week was awful. Specifically, Kelvin Benjamin having two more penalties than receptions is sickening.
So far this season Cam has five INTs, while Meg Ryan has only one. The Panthers have to have fewer penalties and fewer turnovers. Watch for this and you’ll see who has the best chance of winning the game.
Bringing It All Together
Panther fans hate the Dirty Birds from Atlanta. There’s plenty of reasons why, such as Meg Ryan telling us to get the “F” off of his field, to them spoiling our perfect season. But mainly it is the I-85 rivalry and how smug they’ve always been. I’ll never forget the Atlanta Falcon Fan coming on our weekly show two years ago saying the Panthers aren’t a real rivalry to them because we aren’t good enough. OK, buckle up and Ice Up. Panthers win 34-27.