The Carolina Panthers (14-0) will look to move one game closer to an undefeated season, while also attempting to lock up home field advantage in Week 16. The team standing in their way? The Atlanta Falcons (7-7) and dynamic playmakers such as Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman. These two teams met just two weeks ago, and it was a dominating performance by the Panthers, to the tune of 38-0. Here's what the Panthers need to do to continue their perfect season.
1. Utilize the running backs on the ground and through the air
Whether the Panthers decide to sit Jonathan Stewart for a second week or not, Carolina should look to get the ball into the hands of their running backs against Atlanta. Rookie Cameron Artis-Payne showed flashes during Week 15, averaging 4.2 yards per carry on 14 attempts. To this point in 2015, the Falcons have allowed 1,256 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns, as well as 96 receptions for 748 yards and three receiving scores to opposing running backs. It should be a big day for whoever is in the backfield for Carolina.
2. Hit Ted Ginn deep
When the Panthers rolled over the Falcons just a few weeks ago, Ginn was targeted just three times. The end result? Two catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns. It's obvious that Atlanta is going to struggle defending Ginn's speed, so Carolina should look to use it to their advantage in any way possible. The Falcons have actually been good against opposing wide receivers this year, but if Ginn's last outing against them was any indication, it could be a long day.
3. Keep up the pressure on Matt Ryan
Looking back at that 38-0 victory in their first matchup, one thing that jumps out is the massive amount of pressure that both Ryan and Sean Renfree felt in that game. Between the two, Carolina tallied five sacks, and also tacked on two interceptions as well. If the Panthers are able to get a similar level of pressure in Ryan's face, it could be a long day for Atlanta's offense.