Century Link will be quiet when are beloved Panthers are on D. The crowd noise of the Clink is made to be such a huge deal. Is it a disadvantage to their defense and an advantage to ours that it won't be present when the Hawks are on offense?
Everything about the five game streak we're on was improbable when we were 3-8-1. Why not tack another improbable win on, all expectations from a mere six weeks ago have been exceeded already. I don't see any way we could win easily but we sure could win ugly with this D. Special teams scare me to death though.
Dude, we're in the dance with the most favorable matchup possible at HOME to kick the party off. This team is as hot as anyone right, yeah I agree Superbowl or bust, but for different reasons. We're playing loose, confident and with house money, fug draft picks lets go get a title.
Every offensive play is designed to work and gain a particular minimum yardage. Same with defense, every play is designed to work and hold to a particular maximum yardage. The most common theme to a plays success is purely execution and players winning their individual matchups. Ideally, you should know before the game starts where you have an advantage, is there a spot on the line where you maul, a WR/DB matchup with significant speed/height advantage and vice versa for defense. You would think both teams should have some awareness and sense of expectation of where they'll be on the losing side of a matchup week to week and get help to that area accordingly. I.E. double coverage, chip blocking, max protection, gimmicks, blitzing, zone coverage, read option are all adjustments to make up for deficiencies in personnel.
The problem is Shula doesn't seem to recognize who is "winning" or "exceed expectations" game to game. Stewart has clearly been the better back but he isn't fed and we see DeAngelo far more that we should. Kelvin hasn't been involved in the last two games until the 4th quarter. We don't continue to run when the run is working. We continue to attempt to force the ball down field over and over on 3rd down instead of manufacturing offense with plays that have already worked. One thing you hear often in the NFL is do it until they stop you. We do it until we anticipate they will stop us and then try to get cute, which most often has resulted in worse failure than we would have had if we just hadn't got cute. Example, throwing an interception on 3rd on 2 after back to back 4 yard runs. We anticipated they would gear up to stop the run on 3rd on 2 so we try to exploit that anticipation with a pass, however, everyone knows Shula didn't have the brass to just pound it, so press coverage resulted in an INT. If we just run the ball there, and make them stop us we have a really good crack at converting that 3rd and moving on.
Play calling doesn't have to be so difficult. Examine what's working and keep going back to it. The player that's getting beat isn't going to suddenly get physically better, the other team will have to adjust to create a different outcome leaving new holes to exploit. This is what good play callers do IMO.