FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Atlanta Falcons turned their focus to the Tennessee Titans (1-4) on Monday, but a few extra days of rest over the weekend after last week's Thursday night loss to New Orleans gave the players a chance to digest what was going on across the league.
Specifically, the Falcons (5-1) realize that they're in for quite a battle in the NFC South with Carolina (5-0) rolling going into its Sunday night matchup against Philadelphia (3-3).
Veteran wide receiver Roddy White offered his perspective on the Panthers and the current status of the NFC -- with two undefeated teams in Green Bay and Carolina -- and the landscape of the NFL as a whole.
"There are like five really good teams, and they keep winning," White said, referring to the undefeated Packers, Patriots, Broncos, Bengals and Panthers. "We've got to keep winning if we want a chance to even get to where we want to be at. The teams that are good, they're showing how good they are by winning each and every week and just getting themselves prepared to win games. Shoot, we've got to keep up with them."
A 31-21 loss to the Saints (2-4) left the Falcons a step behind the Panthers in the division race. The Falcons and Panthers don't meet until Dec. 13 in Charlotte. Their second meeting is two weeks later at the Georgia Dome.
"We always know they're a tough team," White said of Carolina. "That's how they play football. Their defense goes out there and plays well each and every week, so there's no loss there. And Cam [Newton] is Cam. If you can't get him down on the ground and you can't stop the run, they're going to do what they want to do throughout the game and slow-play the game, not give you much opportunities to get the ball. ... They're a good football team."
Although he gave the Panthers their credit, White would be the first to say the Falcons can't concern themselves with opponents down the road. They have to worry about recovering from last week's offensive blunders against the Saints as they get ready to face a Titans team capable of pressuring Matt Ryan. The Falcons have had three turnovers in each of the last two games.
"I always tell the guys that we can't give away games," White said. "We can't give away games that we know we're supposed to win. We've got to stay on the ball. This is a week that you have to bring energy because of the fact that any kind of letdown, we could lose this game, and this is a team that we shouldn't lose against, especially if they don't have their starting quarterback (rookie Marcus Mariota, who suffered a knee sprain). We've got to get ourselves mentally and physical prepared to play this game and go out there and play fast and physical, like we always do. And the outcome will take care of itself."
Falcons coach Dan Quinn was asked about his view of what's going on across the league, particularly with his former team, the Seattle Seahawks (2-4), losing to the Panthers last Sunday.
"I know it was a really hard-played game, and I did get to see some of that," Quinn said. "Both teams played incredibly tough.
"You know what? We're not going to concern ourselves too much about the opponents. Our division really comes down to us and the attitude and the style that we play. That's going to be kind of a constant theme for me. We're not going to allow other teams to dictate how we play. ... I love that message about how we play our own style."
The Falcons' next division opponent is Tampa Bay coming to the Georgia Dome in Week 8 (Nov. 1). A chance for revenge against the Saints won't come until the regular-season finale (Jan. 3). Remember, the division title came down to the final game last season, when a 7-8-1 Panthers won the NFC South with a 34-3 thumping of the Falcons in Atlanta.
The Falcons have missed the postseason the last two seasons.