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Panthers vs Falcons offensive preview: Return of the (C)Mac?

The Panthers already solid offense might be getting a key piece back on Thursday night

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
“Dis mine?”
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers offense is coming off a very good showing in New Orleans where they made the Saints defense look hole-y at times (sorry). This week, they’ll have a quick turnaround and host the Falcons on Thursday Night Football. Those two teams just played less than three weeks ago, or about 18 months ago in COVID-years. The Panthers offense helped the Falcons show their head coach and general manager the door after the last game, so who will lose their job this time around?

Panthers Offense

Theodore Two Gloves must have seen Taysom Hill on the sideline during the game and immediately had revenge on his mind. He picked apart his former team for over 250 yards and a couple scores through the air. The man had five incomplete passes. Five! This was a good bounce back game for Teddy, especially since the ground game was, well, grounded.

Mike Davis, sir, bravo. We can’t thank you enough for your ability to fill in for the injured Christian McCaffrey the last several weeks. That said, the fact that Davis had seven carries for 12 yards against the Saints and the possibility of CMC returning for the Thursday night game have many Panthers fans ready to relegate Davis to backup duties once again. Not so fast. If I were Matt Rhule (and trust me, I could pull off the smock), I’d leave Christian out for one more week, at least. No need to rush back the franchise player against a team that literally creates new ways to lose games every week.

The weapons on the outside showed out against the Saints as well. DJ Moore had a couple touchdowns, including a bomb from Teddy. Robby Anderson had a boring six catches for a ho-hum 74 yards. And Curtis Samuel is apparently Mr. Third Down now (take that, haterz). Aside from the now-former-Panther Seth Roberts running the wrong route, the receiving corps did a great job.

Falcons Defense

In our last preview of the Falcons defense, I mentioned how they don’t get after the quarterback much. That proved to be quite true the last time these two teams played. Teddy Bridgewater barely had to wash his jersey after that game. Takk McKinley missed that game with a groin injury, and he’s still battling that now. If he doesn’t suit up again on Thursday, I’d expect more of the same difficulties rushing the passer.

One player who really stood out on the Falcons defense last time around was linebacker Foyesade Oluokun. The man had 14 total tackles in that game, the most on either team and double the second highest Falcon’s totals. The Falcons will look to him and Deon Jones to make some impact plays to swing momentum in the visiting team’s favor on Thursday.

One area where the Falcons might actually be a little better than last time is the secondary. They were a bit banged up, but now their starting safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen are both completely healthy. By no means is that secondary one to keep the offense up at night, but it might be a little more solid on the back end.

Match-up

The Saints game was a nice bounce back for the aerial attack, though the ground game was nonexistent for the Panthers. I don’t expect the Panthers to rely quite as heavily on the pass this week, but it wouldn’t surprise me either. The Falcons gave Teddy almost everything he wanted just three short weeks ago, so why not test them again? I’d expect another really good showing from the Panthers offense, whether McCaffrey suits up or not.