The Atlanta Falcons aim to stay perfect as they host NFC South rival the Carolina Panthers Sunday afternoon at Georgia Dome.
The game begins at 1 p.m. EDT and will be shown on Fox, or you may watch a live stream online by purchasing NFL Sunday Ticket Max.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is making an early case for league MVP with Atlanta scoring the third most points in the league, and his team are fresh off a 27-3 no contest against the San Diego Chargers last Sunday.
Atlanta raced off to a 20-0 lead before halftime with three touchdown passes from Ryan, who went 30-for-40 for 275 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
Running back Michael Turner rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown, and tight end Tony Gonzalez made nine receptions for 91 yards and a score.
The Falcons defense notched another stellar performance against the Chargers, forcing four turnovers and four punts in San Diego’s 11 possessions. Atlanta has the seventh-ranked pass defense, allowing 207.7 yards per game, and are fourth in the league allowing 48 points in three games.
While Ryan is on pace for a career year, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton may be in a sophomore year slump.
Newton’s demeanor and leadership have come under fire recently, and his work on the field reflects his attitude as the Panthers were trounced by the shorthanded New York Giants 36-7 in Week Three.
Newton went 16-for-30 for 242 yards and three interceptions, and his only highlight was a one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. The Panthers committed five turnovers and the Giants held possession for 13 more minutes of game time.
Running back Jonathan Stewart has been limited due to injury and more emphasis was placed on DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert, who combined for 54 yards rushing against New York.
Carolina’s defense failed to control a Giants’ offense that held out one of their top receivers and their first string running back. The Panthers allowed 405 yards, including 113 yards to New York tail back Andre Brown.
Atlanta linebacker Stephen Nicholas is now probable, while cornerback Chris Owens is out.
Carolina’s Stewart is probable this week, and so are linebacker Jon Beason is questionable.
Betting Odds: Atlanta is favored by 7.5 points; Over/Under: 48.5 points
Prediction: Atlanta has raced out to early leads in all three of their wins. The Panthers defense must control the tempo early and try to take Ryan out of his rhythm for any chance to win. Ultimately the Falcons will prevail.
Predicted Score: Atlanta 30, Carolina 21