FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today’s Early Bird Report includes a variety of expert picks for Week 2 as well as what Matt Ryan had to say about the offense feeling any additional pressure.
- How to watch the Falcons-Panthers game Sunday
- AFR: Stopping Cam Newton starts with D-line
- The timetable for Deion Jones' return
- Falcons injury report: Freeman held out of practice
Week 2 picks:
After losing in Week 1 to the Eagles, the Falcons are still a popular pick among the experts at CBS Sports to rebound at home against the Panthers. Seven of the eight experts like the Falcons to win their first division game of the season on Sunday. Senior writer Pete Prisco is among those seven who think the Falcons will win at home.
“The Panthers are banged up on offense and now must hit the road against a team that is rested with extra time,” Prisco writes. “That's not a good combination. The Falcons do have some injury issues on defense without safety Kenau Neal and linebacker Deion Jones. But I think the Atlanta offense comes alive after a slow first game.”
ESPN’s expert pickers are also high on the Falcons in Week 2. Eight of their 10 pickers like Atlanta over Carolina on Sunday.
The projection model at FiveThirtyEight also gives the Falcons an edge at home. Atlanta’s win probability currently sits at 62 percent against Carolina.
Here are some other articles for Falcons fans to check out today:
AJC: Matt Ryan feels no pressure to get offense back in high gear
After going 1-for-5 in the red zone and scoring just 12 points against the Eagles in their season opener, the Falcons have faced many questions this week of how to get the offense back on track. When asked his thoughts on the subject Wednesday, Matt Ryan said he doesn’t think the offense should feel any more pressure than usual despite the loss of two Pro Bowlers on defense.
“I don’t think you have to feel any more than you do every week,” Ryan said. “Our objective is to score as many points as we need to score, week-in and week-out, to get the job done. So, obviously you don’t want to lose guys on the defensive side of the ball.
“[Keanu Neal and Deion Jones] are tough to replace, but we have confidence in those guys to step in and do their best. I’m certain that they will. But offensively, it’s the same as every week. We have to find a way to get the job done.”
D. Orlando Ledbetter wrote about what Ryan had to say on Wednesday for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which you can read here.
MMQB: Injuries already impacting season narratives for some teams
The Falcons have been hit hard with injuries after just one week of play, but they aren’t the only team. As Jonathan Jones writes for Monday Morning Quarterback, injuries have already become a big storyline throughout the league.
“In Atlanta, the Falcons were dealt massive Week 1 blows when they placed safety Keanu Neal and linebacker Deion Jones on the injured reserve,” Jones writes. “Neal is done for the season with an ACL, but Jones (foot) will have surgery that the Falcons hope will get him back on the field within the next eight weeks. (By the way, the NFL expanding the rule to two players who can return from IR is one of the best rule changes the league has put in place.)”