Atlanta Falcons: Quarterback Matt Ryan has been sacked 36 times and taken a lot of punishment this season, which worries the Falcons. Ryan was knocked down eight times in last Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens to raise his season total to an NFL-leading 91. “I’m concerned about it because if we’re not protecting him in the way that we can, then that gets hard,” Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said in a press conference. “There are some games that the score is out of whack and it turns into a dropback game, there are going to be more chances for a defense to go after them, you know that. But at the end of it, yeah, I’m concerned, but I’m as concerned about us playing as well as we can.” Considering the abuse, Ryan has a stellar touchdown-to-interceptions rate of 25 to 5.
Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton continues to have shoulder woes and the quarterback admits he may need further surgery in the future. He had his throwing shoulder repaired following the 2016 season but he is again experiencing issues. “I would not have expected me to still have things lingering from that (surgery), but at the end of the day it is what it is,” Newton told reporters. “It’s about managing pain and understanding you have a job to do, a responsibility to put your best product out on the field, and I want to do that for myself and this team.” Coach Ron Rivera suggested the injury could lead to someone else — Taylor Heinicke is the backup — on the field if it worsens. “We just have to be ready to do something different if we have to,” Rivera said. “I think that’s probably where we are going to get to. I’m not sure yet, but we’ll see how it goes.”
New Orleans Saints: One of the team’s two losses came in Week 1 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers notched a 48-40 victory. The teams clash again on Sunday and cornerback Marshon Lattimore will be under the microscope after having troubles with Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans (seven receptions for 147 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown). Lattimore has bounced back from that contest to enjoy a solid season and Saints coach Sean Payton doesn’t think the focus should be on the 22-year-old. “It wasn’t just about Mike and Marshon that day,” Payton said on a conference call. “The quarterback (Ryan Fitzpatrick) was comfortable in the pocket and in this league you have really good football players. A quarterback that’s throwing it extremely well, we turned the ball over offensively. There were a number of things, but yes, Marshon we feel like is one of the better corners in this league and I’m glad we have him.”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Coach Dirk Koetter isn’t sure he wants to get into a second shootout with the explosive Saints but also thinks what happened in Week 1 has no bearing on the rematch. “That was a shootout in Game 1,” Koetter said. “Their offense has been on fire all season and the thing that jumps out at me is how well their defense is playing and I’m not saying they didn’t play well before, but they’re No. 1 in the league in rush defense and the pressure they’re getting on quarterbacks (is impressive). I just think that was a day in Week 1 where we were fortunate to win the turnover battle (New Orleans committed the only two) and both teams were making a lot of plays and we made just enough.”
—Field Level Media