The Falcons host the Carolina Panthers in another NFC South showdown at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday.
Both teams will be looking to get back on track as Carolina (5-6) and Atlanta (3-9) are coming off back-to-back losses since their last meeting on Nov.17. The Falcons dominated the Panthers 29-3 at Bank of America Stadium.
Carolina had no answer for Atlanta’s passing attack with Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones totaling 14 catches for 234 yards and one touchdown. The Falcons’ defense also played one of its best games of the year, forcing quarterback Kyle Allen to throw four interceptions.
Here’s a closer look at what’s changed with the Panthers:
Injuries are mounting
The Panthers lost defensive tackle Dontari Poe (quad) and left guard Greg Van Roten (foot) for the season as they were both placed on injured reserve a week ago. Tight Greg Olsen (concussion) and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (ankle) both suffered injuries in the 29-21 loss to the Redskins.
Their status for Sunday’s game will be one to monitor as the week moves forward.
Christian McCaffrey continues to fill stat sheet
McCaffrey is climbing the record books this year.
On Sunday, McCaffrey passed Roger Craig’s record (2,118 yards) for most receiving yards by a running back in his first three seasons with 2,162 career receiving yards.
Through 13 weeks, McCaffrey has 1,167 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns along with 75 catches for 644 yards and four touchdowns.
Panthers struggling to stop the run
The Achilles heel of Carolina’s defense this season has been their inability to stop the run.
The Redskins (3-9) gashed the Panthers’ defense for 248 yards on Sunday. Carolina ranks No. 29 in the league in run defense giving up 137.5 yards per game.
The Falcons were without running back Devonta Freeman in the last meeting with the Panthers and will have him back in the lineup this time around. Atlanta was only able to muster 54 yards on the ground (2.1 yards per carry) in the win with Brian Hill’s 30 rushing yards on 15 carries leading the way.