Atlanta Falcons: Safety Ricardo Allen suffered a season-ending torn Achilles tendon during Sunday's loss to New Orleans, joining safety Keanu Neal (season-ending ACL tear) and middle linebacker Deion Jones (foot surgery) as key defenders hurt through the first three games. Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said the team will look for a backup safety but strongly believes in Damontae Kazee as a starter with Jordan Richards possibly lining alongside him. The Falcons also are hoping for progress from injured defensive ends Takkarist McKinley (groin) and Derrick Shelby (groin) as well as running back Devonta Freeman (knee). "I would say probably Takk is the closest," Quinn said. "And then with Devonta and Derrick, we'll get them better steps through the week."
Carolina Panthers: Quarterback Cam Newton has thrown five touchdown passes over the past two games and is completing 67.4 percent of his passes on the season. He also has been intercepted just once, and Panthers coach Ron Rivera likes what he is seeing. "Very consistent is a good word for it," Rivera said. "His play has truly matured, and by that I mean he's learning to take what's being given. In the past, he may have tried to force some things downfield. He was a little high early in the game (Sunday), and once he kind of got the ball down and went through his reads quickly, he was getting the ball where it needed to be. He was very efficient that way."
New Orleans Saints: Quarterback Drew Brees is the new record holder with 6,326 completions -- he passed Brett Favre (6,300) during Sunday's game against Atlanta -- and also is just 417 yards shy of matching Peyton Manning's all-time yardage mark of 71,940 passing yards. "I hope there's a lot more coming, but I just think about all of the people that had a hand in that," Brees said of the completions mark. "A lot of hands have caught those passes, and a lot of guys have blocked to make those happen. They all are a part of this, absolutely." Brees has a league-most 104 completions this season with receiver Michael Thomas making an NFL-leading 38 catches and running back Alvin Kamara ranking third with 30.