Your daily collection of Falcons and NFL news and notes from around the NFL.
Greg Hardy Thinks the Panthers are Better Than the Falcons
Panthers defensive lineman Greg Hardy raised some eyebrows this week when he proclaimed that Carolina is a better football team than Atlanta, despite the Panthers' 3-9 record. This statement has raised a few eyebrows and, frankly, lacks any semblance of reasoning. Hardy went on to get rather vicious:
"There's a point where you know you're better than someone. We just didn't pull it out," he said in reference to a close loss to Atlanta early in the season. "I'm trying to mess up their whole playoff experience. I want them to go home sick in the stomach, mad about life, a couple depression issues, all types of things. It's going to be a long day from my point of view. I'm coming."
Those are some harsh words, and could be some good bulletin board material for Atlanta. It also might be as outlandish as Ryan Kalil's guarantee in the offseason that the Panthers would win the Super Bowl this season.
Moore Named Defensive Player of the Week
Falcons safety William Moore earned NFL Defensive Player of the Week following his two interception performance against the Saints. The Missouri alum also recorded 13 tackles as part of Atlanta's winning effort at the Georgia Dome. The last time a Falcon won this award was back in 2010 when Brent Grimes had three tackles and five pass deflections against the Seahawks.
Owens Makes Most of His Chances
I've been harping on the Falcons' secondary all week, but given this team's past struggles defending the pass, it's hard not to be excited about this recent improvement. While he may far from the most important player on Atlanta's roster, Chris Owens has played some strong football in recent weeks and contributed greatly to last Thursday's win over New Orleans.
"For Chris, with all he’s been through with the injuries — similar to mine — to see him overcome those things, it’s big for him," Dunta Robinson said. "I’m very proud and happy for him."
Owens had three tackles and two pass deflections against the Saints.
"I think it’s a start, that’s all," he said. "I’m not too high on myself. I’m not too down. There’s some stuff I could’ve done better, looking at the film. It’s just a start, really."
Falcons Getting Healthier
Save for Sean Weatherspoon's ankle injuriy, Atlanta has been fairly lucky this season in the health department, and that will continue heading into Sunday's game in Carolina. Peria Jerry, who has missed the past two weeks, returned to practice on Wednesday and may be good to go against the Panthers. Asante Samuel, who missed most of last Thursday's contest, could be ready for next week as well.
However, it's unclear whether or not Moore will suit up at Bank of America Stadium, as he sat out Wednesday's practice with a hamstring ailment.
Newton Thinks He'll Run Wild Against Atlanta
Cam Newton had himself quite a day in the Panthers' September 30 meeting against the Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The elusive QB ran for 86 yards and a touchdown, and his team finished the day with 199 yards on the ground.
"I don’t think it would be a problem," Newton said when asked if he thinks the Panthers can rack up 199 yards on the ground against the Falcons again. "We’ve got guys that are hungry to play this game. If everybody executes, then it’ll be a good day at the office."
Containing Newton will be one of Atlanta's most daunting tasks on Sunday, and if they are unable to do so, this game will likely be far more competitive than Falcons fans are hoping for.