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Falcons vs. Panthers: Atlanta to use 'more simple game plan' to neutralize Cam Newton

The Falcons will make a concerted effort to limit Cam Newton's damage on the ground this weekend.

Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

The Atlanta Falcons' rush defense has been maligned for much of the season, but the group has gotten it together the past couple of weeks. One week after holding Tampa Bay Buccaneers star rookie Doug Martin to 50 yards, the Falcons gave up 101 rushing yards overall to the New Orleans Saints.

However, Cam Newton will provide a different challenge. Newton is on a bit of a hot streak and is leading Carolina in rushing with 594 yards. Earlier this season, the second-year quarterback ran for 86 of the Panthers' 199 yards on the ground in an Atlanta 30-28 victory.

The Falcons realize that slowing Newton is the No. 1 priority, and safety Thomas DeCoud believes the game plan will focus on how to limit the quarterback's damage on the ground (via Falcons.com):

"A more simple game plan (is what we'll use) and be really in tune with certain down-and-distance keys that can tip off what they're going to try to do," the safety said.

Even if the Falcons are disciplined on defense, DeCoud knows they still have their "work cut out" for them. Newton is dangerous with the ball in his hands and can make plays out of nothing, so Atlanta must do whatever possible to keep him from having a big game.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.