Matt Ryan owns the best passer rating in the NFL, and his unbeaten Atlanta Falcons are off to their best start in eight seasons.
Cam Newton is enduring a start to his second season with the Carolina Panthers that has been so difficult that he has been forced to deny that he is seeing a therapist.
Ryan and the Falcons have already built a two-game cushion atop the NFC South and will look to ruin another homecoming for Newton at the Georgia Dome on Sunday.
Atlanta has opened with three victories for the first time since a 4-0 start in 2004. Ryan has posted a 114.0 rating and his eight touchdowns are tied for most in the league.
"When Matt is playing with confidence, I think it permeates around the locker room," coach Mike Smith said. "We've got a lot of guys playing with confidence right now."
Confidence is currently lacking with Newton, who grew up in College Park - south of downtown Atlanta. No full-time starting quarterback has thrown fewer touchdown passes than the two by the...