While the Atlanta Falcons quietly won 23-17 against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, there is one storyline that has dominated the headlines since Sunday. Panthers cornerback Josh Norman and New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. played football in a way it hasn’t been played in awhile, and NFL fans have been talking non-stop about what transpired between the two. Trash-talking, cheap shots, and personal fouls played a part of both players games throughout. So why is this headline being discussed on an Atlanta sports website? Because Josh Norman better move on, or Julio Jones could torch him come this Sunday.
Josh Norman’s team absolutely abused the Falcons in Week 14, winning 38-0. Many have said Norman won the matchup against Jones, with the star receiver hauling in only four receptions for 33 yards with Norman covering him. But what many fans need to realize is that coaches and teams look at game film of their opponent to find any flaws they can. Everyone has a weakness, and Quinn and the coaching staff will go out of their way to dissect the Panther’s defense. Ryan will have to play his vintage style in past years to beat Carolina, and Jones will have to hope that his quarterback can in order to take down the undefeated.
Julio Jones is no fan of Josh Norman. In fact, he believes Norman is not as great as many believe. Jones told the public, “Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good player. But they play “Cover Two.”” Cover Two defense is where teams have their two safeties covering the secondaries back’s in order to not allow deep passes, but the safeties also will help cornerbacks if they feel the need to. Norman has a lot of safety help in a defense that is great overall.
"It's going to be that kind of game? C'mon now!"
— NFL (@NFL) December 19, 2015
In the SoundFX of Norman against Jones in their first meeting, you could tell Norman did in fact get in Jones’ head. For one of the first times in his career, it looked as if Jones partook in trash-talking and pushing at Norman. The obvious excuse is Atlanta’s horrendous offensive execution, having only 230 total yards from scrimmage. With Atlanta lacking a running or passing game, Carolina’s defense seized the opportunity of the demise of the Falcons offense. Standing at 6’3” and weighing around 220 lbs, Jones is a physical specimen that works his ass off day in and day out to be the best receiver in the NFL. He knows he is better than Norman, and more than likely he wants to be the player to humiliate the fourth-year cornerback.
The Falcons (7-7) are somehow still in playoff contention. While they will likely not be making the postseason, they have a chance to do something special. They can be the one to break the Panthers perfect season. While Ron Rivera and his players would say it wasn’t a big deal to them, that would be a complete lie. Carolina fans and players have strived thus far and do not want to have a loss hanging over their record. This matchup isn’t Julio Jones vs Josh Norman, but you know damn well many NFL fans will be watching between the two.