The Falcons hit the road again this weekend to take on the Carolina Panthers (5-4) for another NFC South clash.
Atlanta (2-7) is coming off its second win of the season, a dominating 26-9 road victory over the New Orleans Saints (7-2) and will be looking to build off the performance.
The Panthers have lost two straight and will be trying to get back on track at home.
Here are five things to know about Atlanta’ upcoming opponent:
Panthers will bring the pressure
The Panthers rank first in the league in sacks with 36. Carolina has had success getting to opponents’ quarterbacks by committee. Mario Addison leads the way with seven and rookie defensive end Brian Burns has contributed 4.5. Veteran defensive end Bruce Irvin has 3.5 sacks on the year.
A new quarterback leading the charge
It’s been Kyle Allen’s show since Week 3. Cam Newton suffered a foot injury in the preseason and was unable to recover. Newton was placed on injured reserve and the Panthers will continue to rely on Allen for the rest of the season.
Allen, an undrafted free agent out of Houston, has completed 144 passes for the 1,598 yard and 10 touchdowns.
His leading receiver this season is former first-round draft pick D.J. Moore who has 54 catches for 684 yards.
McCaffrey having an MVP-caliber season
Christian McCaffrey ranks No. 2 in rushing yards this year with 989 and 11 touchdowns. Only Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook has more yards on the ground than McCaffrey (991). He’s virtually been unstoppable this season and has continued to improve each year he’s been in the league. He’s also been a factor in the pass game as well catching 48 passes for 396 yards and three touchdowns.
Panthers have struggled vs. run
The Falcons had their best rushing performance of the year in the win over the Saints and hope to be more effective in the run game in the second half of the season. Carolina has struggled to stop the run this season. The Panthers have allowed 17 rushing touchdowns, the most in the league.
Ron Rivera’s defense ranks No. 20 in the league in rushing defense, giving up 136.7 yards per game. The Panthers allow 5.2 yards per rush, the most in the NFL.
Division game on the line
The Falcons are 1-0 in the NFC South while the Panthers are 0-1. Both teams in this game know the implications of division games and this could bring the best out of Carolina and Atlanta.