Panthers CB Josh Norman vs. Falcons WRs Julio Jones and Roddy White: Jones and White are both off to great starts. Against the Giants, Norman, a fifth-round pick from Coastal Carolina, gave too much room to Ramses Barden, and his safety help was too deep. The Giants completed 10 of 14 passes for 147 yards on throws of more than 10 yards, according to the website Pro Football Focus. White has 19 catches for 244 yards and a touchdown. Jones has 15 catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns. “We have got to pick it up a little bit more on the offensive side of the ball,” White said. “There’s still a lot of stuff we are leaving out there on the field that I think we can fix that.”
Panthers DE Charles Johnson vs. Falcons OTs Sam Baker and Tyson Clabo: Johnson, who doesn’t have a sack this season, will move around and face both tackles. With 20.5 sacks over the past two seasons, he’s considered one of the cornerstones of the Panthers’ defense. Clabo is battling a hip injury, while Baker has been stout in pass protection this season.
Panthers WR Steve Smith vs. Falcons CB Asante Samuel: Samuel is playing well in coverage and run support. After two down seasons because of quarterback issues, Smith bounced back with a 1,300-yard season in 2011. He has 14 catches for 296 yards in three games. Samuel has blended in well with the Falcons’ defense. “He’s probably the most competitive player in the NFL,” Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said of Smith. “He’s a very good player.”