FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- As the weekend draws nearer, we've begun to get a better picture of the status of the Falcons' injured players. Both Vic Beasley and Julio Jones were limited in practice, but Mohamed Sanu, Matt Bryant and Courtney Upshaw all missed practice due to injury. These decisions will likely go right up to the wire on Sunday.
Today's Early Bird Report includes several predictions for this weekend's game as well as some things to watch for as the Panthers face the Eagles on "Thursday Night Football."
FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
Week 6 picks: Falcons favored at home
Coming off the bye week, many believe the Falcons will wind up in the "win" column once again on Sunday against the Dolphins. All eight of the experts at CBS Sports like Atlanta to emerge victorious at home, including senior NFL columnist Pete Prisco, who thinks the Falcons will come out with a 27-17 victory.
Over at Five Thirty Eight, which specializes in statistics and projection models, the Falcons are the third-biggest favorite of the weekend. Five Thirty Eight currently has Atlanta's win probability at 78 percent, behind only Houston and Washington, who are playing Cleveland and San Francisco, respectively.
ESPN.com: To Falcons' Bryant Young, son who lost cancer battle was his superhero
First-year defensive line coach Bryant Young is often spoken of as someone who knows how to connect with his players and help them develop their technique. A former All-Pro defensive lineman, himself, Young knows what it takes to succeed in the NFL. As with every coach and player, there is much more to Young as a person. He spoke with ESPN’s Vaughn McClure about his son Colby, who died of pediatric cancer last year at the age of 15.
"Every day has its own challenge," Young told McClure, "but when you're going through the first of everything -- the first birthday, the first year of him passing -- and actually the day before, too, just anticipating what the day would be like. I definitely always want to remember him in a special way."
NEWS ON THE FALCONS' OPPONENT: Miami Dolphins
The Palm Beach Post: Dolphins offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil to Jay Cutler: 'Trust us'
Miami's offense has had plenty of problems so far this season. Among those problems are the offensive line play and quarterback Jay Cutler. Lured out of retirement this offseason, Cutler has seemed flustered at times and has yet to make a great impact for the Dolphins. Of course, he hasn't received much help from his offensive line, which has given up 10 sacks through four games.
Speaking with Joe Schad of *The Palm Beach Post *on Wednesday, left tackle Laremy Tunsil had a message for his quarterback.
"The quarterback has to trust us because he's new here," Tunsil told Schad. "It's just more of him trusting us. And it comes with time. The more trust he has in us the better we'll do."
Cutler spoke of his rushed play at times on Wednesday, and his comments coincided with Tunsil's message: "You've always got to fight (rushing the footwork) and just trust that those guys are going to give you a good pocket, set the edge and let you work in there," Cutler told Schad. "So it's that constant battle of when to leave, when to stay."
BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFC SOUTH
NFL.com: What to watch for in Eagles-Panthers on 'TNF'
One week after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the New England Patriots on "Thursday Night Football," the Carolina Panthers will be the NFC South's week-night warriors against the Philadelphia Eagle. This clash of 4-1 teams looks like one of the best matchups of Week 6, and Conor Orr of NFL.com broke down what to watch for on Thursday night.
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said he felt his team was in pretty good shape in their preparation for Carolina's offense, drawing similarities with the Kansas City Chiefs, who Philadelphia played earlier this year and who runs similar sweeps and motions. Orr then mentions both quarterbacks in this matchup, noting Cam Newton's incredible progress over the last two weeks and Carson Wentz's NFL-best performance on third down this season. Both teams are also at the top of the league in time of possession, which could mean this game will come down to whichever defense makes the big third-down stops.
MORE FROM ATLANTAFALCONS.COM
- Straight from the 'Beek: Trufant making an impact
- Injury report: Bryant, Sanu sidelined on Wednesday
- Falcons sign DE Woodard to practice squad, Perkins injured
- Kicker signed to practice squad