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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 4
September 24, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
ARZ at STL KC at BAL ATL at CAR *IND at NO Miami
TEN at PIT *NE at WAS DAL at NYJ Mon 9 PM NY Giants
CIN at CLE *PHI at BUF *DET at DEN *GB at CHI Seattle
JAX at HOU *SF at MIN *SD at OAK *updated Tampa Bay
   
Atlanta vs Carolina Sun, Sep 28; 1 PM on FOX at Ericsson Stadium
  Atlanta Rush Catch Pass
QB Doug Johnson 0 0 160
RB Warrick Dunn 40 30 0
RB T.J. Duckett 30 0 0
TE Alge Crumpler 0 40 0
WR Quentin McCord 0 20 0
WR Peerless Price 0 60 0
  Carolina Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme 0 0 180,1
RB Stephen Davis 120,2 10 0
TE Kris Mangum 0 10 0
WR Muhsin Muhammad 0 60,1 0
WR Ricky Proehl 0 20 0
WR Steve Smith 0 70 0

Game Prediction: ATL 6, CAR 27

After beating Dallas in the opener, the Falcons dropped two home stands against the Redskins in a squeaker and the Buccaneers is a stomp. Unfortunately, the problems seem to be getting worse instead of better.

Against the Buccaneers, the Falcons had no answer for what Tampa Bay did on either side of the ball. Doug Johnson has gone from a seemingly solid fill-in for Michael Vick to last week's 13 of 19 for 95 yards effort. When Johnson missed, he missed big and overthrew several receivers while connecting on interceptions three times in the game.

Peerless Price had six catches for 45 yards which seemed impressive compared to the four catches for 58 yards he totaled in the previous two games. Compared to his paycheck, not that good. The problem last week was that the Falcons ran out of receivers. Only three dressed for the game - Price, Quentin McCord (no catches) and Jimmy Farris (1-4). When Farris left the game with a mild concussion, there were no other receivers to use.

Brian Finneran is still out with his broken hand for a few more weeks and LaTarence Dunbar missed the game with a groin pull. The decision was made not to activate rookie Terrence Edwards for the game and the rout was on.

The Atlanta rushing game included T.J. Duckett (3-6) and Warrick Dunn (9-7) and was quickly abandoned even though there were a lack of receivers and the only place the Buccaneers have proven vulnerable is up the middle with a big back like Duckett.

The Falcons determination to hold the ship steady while Vick mends has resulted in a 1-2 record and a team that seems to get worse every week.

The Panthers come off their bye fresh and ready to add to their surprising 2-0 division leading record. After winning in Tampa Bay in week two, there is more than a little confidence building going on for the Panthers.

While Jake Delhomme was the savior in week one when he engineered two touchdown drives to defeat the Jaguars, he only managed a 9 of 23 for 96 yard performance against the Buccaneers. Instead, Stephen Davis stepped up to the plate and rumbled through the heart of the Buccaneer defense 33 times for 142 yards.

The Carolina defense also had two blocked field goals and a blocked extra point that forced the overtime which John Kasay's fourth field goal won.

The Panthers have been very stingy against the run but surprisingly accommodating against the pass considering that they have only faced Jacksonville and Tampa Bay, but this week they face the Falcons who have an even worse throwing game.

This week MLB Dan Morgan is expected to return from a hamstring injury and play on Sunday.

This will be a big Carolina win for a couple of reasons. While the Falcons come off a throttling by the Buccaneers, the Panthers have been on a bye after beating the Bucs in Tampa Bay. Atlanta has shown to be susceptible to the run and Stephen Davis was acquired exactly for moments like this. While Carolina has pass coverage problems, the Falcons do not appear capable of doing much about it, particularly with the running game stalling.

Lastly, and just as importantly as any other reason, the Falcons destroyed the Panthers last season 30-0 and 41-0 in two games that Michael Vick ruled. The Panthers were forced to use Randy Fasani in those games and Lamar Smith played his final game as a starter when he only gained 16 yards on eight carries.

The Panthers now have a better defense, quarterback and runningback. The Falcons are just trying to stand up again. That adds up to motivation, means and this week -opportunity.

ATL
CAR
2003 Averages
CAR
ATL
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
184
306
Pass yards
119
272
1.3
1.5
Pass TDs
1.5
1.7
2.3
0.5
Interceptions
2.0
0.7
0
-2
Rush yards
2
2
0.3
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
----
----
RB's
----
----
73
70
Rush yards
144
131
1.0
0.5
Rush TDs
0.0
1.7
29
67
Receive yards
18
48
0.3
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
----
----
WR's
----
----
88
190
Receive yards
87
207
0.3
1.5
Receive TD's
1.5
1.0
----
----
TE's
----
----
67
25
Receive yards
14
17
0.7
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
----
----
PK's
----
----
1.3
1.0
Field Goals
2.5
0.7
2.7
1.5
Extra Points
1.5
3.3
----
----
DEF/ST
----
----
1.3
0.0
Fumbles
0.5
0.3
0.3
2.0
Interceptions
0.5
2.3
0.0
0.0
Touchdowns
0.0
0.0
3.3
2.5
Sacks
2.5
2.3
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.5
0.3
Falcons (1-2)
Score Opp.
27-13 @DAL
31-33 WAS
10-31 TB
Week 4 @CAR
Week 5 MIN
Week 6 @STL
Week 7 NO
Week 8 BYE
Week 9 PHI
Week 10 @NYG
Week 11 @NO
Week 12 TEN
Week 13 @HOU
Week 14 CAR
Week 15 @IND
Week 16 @TB
Week 17 JAX
Panthers (2-0)
Score Opp.
24-23 JAX
12-9 @TB
Week 3 BYE
Week 4 ATL
Week 5 NO
Week 6 @IND
Week 7 TEN
Week 8 @NO
Week 9 @HOU
Week 10 TB
Week 11 WAS
Week 12 @DAL
Week 13 PHI
Week 14 @ATL
Week 15 @ARZ
Week 16 DET
Week 17 @NYG
(Statistics are game averages from current season )