The Falcons traditionally did a nice job of keeping the football safe under Mike Smith, even if they struggled in other contexts. A year ago with Dan Quinn helming the ship, they looked pretty good at times, but they were way too careless with the football.
We all remember Matt Ryan's 16 interceptions last year, the insane 12 fumbles credited to Ryan (some of which were caused by terrible snapping by the likes of Mike Person and James Stone), and the handful of back-breaking fumbles from Tevin Coleman, Julio Jones, and others. That conspired to give the Falcons an anemic -7 turnover ratio, their worst in a while.
The reasons for this are myriad--Coleman just fumbles too much, the bad snaps are caused by playing someone at center without enough experience--but some of it should be fixed this year. Ryan has (on paper, at least) better receiving options, Coleman will have a year under his belt to work on ball security, and Alex Mack will be snapping the ball to Ryan, which should dramatically cut down the number of dumb snaps.
The good news is that fumbles, at least, tend to be pretty luck-based in general. The Falcons having a -7 turnover ratio a year ago isn't particularly likely again this year unless Matt Ryan really is circling the drain, and even better, the Panthers having a +20 (!) isn't particularly likely, either. In 2014, after all, the Falcons were +5 in an otherwise terrible season, while the Panthers were just +3. If the two teams normalize a little bit, the Panthers probably aren't going 15-1 again, and the Falcons...well, they could be better!
If you're looking for reasons for optimism, you can start here.