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Keys to Victory: Falcons vs. Panthers

The Atlanta Falcons have no time to rest coming off of a win over the New Orleans Saints as they prepare to take on the Carolina Panthers at home on Sunday. Here are photos of the Falcons at work in Week 4.

The ball is everything

It will be imperative that Atlanta's offense continues their high regard for the football on Sunday with the Panthers' defense averaging two takeaways a game.

"[Carolina] is a very good team that way," head coach Dan Quinn said. "They've been a terrific ball hawking defense. They've taken care of it. You've seen how good their numbers were last year, they were top of the chart. We have to make great decisions offensively."

The Falcons have created three takeaways so far on the season, an area that Quinn would like to see improvement in.

"Defensively, we have to create more [takeaways], we had one on special teams and one on defense [in Week 3]. I thought we could have ended [Monday's game] with three or four if we finished like we can."

When the Vikings defeated the Panthers last week, Carolina QB Cam Newton threw three interceptions and Minnesota was able to capitalize on their defensive success.

Run the ball successfully

A big reason to why Atlanta's offense has been successful is the dominance in the run game.

Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have combined for 617 total yards with five touchdowns.

The Falcons' commitment to the run game has opened things up for QB Matt Ryan and the aerial attack. Freeman, Coleman and Atlanta's offensive line will have their hands full with Carolina's stout defensive line, led by tackle Kawann Short, that currently ranks 10th in run defense.

"Offensively, the run game, the play action pass is the key to it all," Quinn said. "They are a very aggressive front. Having a balance in that one is going to be critical."

Sound tackling is necessary

Quinn has emphasized the importance of sound tackling all year, and against a dual-threat quarterback like Newton, it's even more important. The Panthers also own one of the most talented tight ends in terms of extending plays in Greg Olsen.

"Defensively, tackling is going to be huge in this game," Quinn said. "[They] have a quarterback who can run it, running backs who can run it, big receivers, a very good tight end."

All about the finish

Atlanta sits atop of the NFC South and Quinn has repeatedly expressed the importance of owning the division.

The Falcons have an opportunity to separate themselves in the division with a win over the Panthers at the Georgia Dome.

"Being that it's a division game, I think it's going to come down to a finish," Quinn said. "Who can do that better? I expect it to come right down to the end again."

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