The Atlanta Falcons don't have an easy job tomorrow. As much as it pains me to acknowledge it, the Carolina Panthers are a good football team. I don't think they're as good as their record would indicate, but that's a different discussion entirely.
So how do the Falcons keep their heads above water tomorrow? As simple as it may seem, they have to really emphasize balance against the Panthers. In particular, Kyle Shanahan has to emphasize balance. Let's break down some numbers.
The Falcons have thrown the ball over 60 percent of the time this year. The most pass-happy team in the league is the Detroit Lions, who throw the ball nearly 65 percent of the time. In other words, while the Falcons' pass percentage is technically the 12th highest, they're not far off the league-leading pace. They throw the ball an average of 39.9 times a game, running the ball only an average of 26.3 times a game. It's not like they're passing twice as much as they run, but let's be honest, it's pretty much like that. And that's true notwithstanding their surprisingly effective ground game this season, particularly when second year running back Devonta Freeman is in the game.
So what gives? Well, to be frank, I think we all know the answer to this question: Kyle Shanahan. I'll give the man some credit, Shanny is going to do him. But if I ever met the man, I'd beg him. I'd grovel and plead with him. Just run the ball a little more. Just act like you're trying to orchestrate some sort of balanced offensive attack. But alas, I'm just armchair quarterbacking here. Shanny has more important things to worry about, like how to get RG3 and Brian Hoyer to come to his birthday party. (Kirk Cousins isn't invited.)