Whatever Ron Rivera thinks of Atlanta's defensive weaknesses, he would probably have to admit that, you know, it's better than what the Panthers are trotting out.
The most important thing the Panthers can do on defense is knock down Matt Ryan, harry him and force him to abort his leisurely reads of the defense. As we've discussed here before, when Ryan has enough time, he's one of the most dangerous quarterbacks on the planet. If you can bust through the line, he's decidedly closer to mortal.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, their pass rush has been wildly disappointing so far. Charles Johnson doesn't have one sack. The only guy doing anything for this team up front is Dwan Edwards, who is also carrying the team's run defense. The Panthers are having trouble getting past quality offensive lines right now.
The Falcons should, therefore, be able to deal with the Panthers pass rush. Edwards is a major concern up the middle with Todd McClure scuffling a bit more than usual, as is Johnson if he finds his form. By and large, however, the Falcons' stout blocking should be enough to keep Ryan upright most of the afternoon, should they not falter or the Panthers consume massive quantities of Wheaties.
Let's discuss. How will the Falcons fare?