Are the Falcons feeling the pressure heading into Week 1?

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For the first time since Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot took over, there’s a new feeling around Flowery Branch — one of excitement and hope. That hasn’t existed within the Falcons fan base in quite some time, but as quickly as it built up this offseason, it can vanish even faster with a loss to the Panthers in Week 1.

On paper, there’s no reason the Falcons shouldn’t walk away with a victory on Sunday. Their defensive line is poised to be one of the best in the league, which is up against a Panthers offensive line that could be one of the worst. The Falcons revamped pass rush should have no problem causing problems for Bryce Young, who could be without two of his top wide receivers, an area that Carolina was already thin at.

I think most agree that Young has star potential. He was a Heisman winner at Alabama and the #1 overall pick for a reason. But right now, he’s a rookie quarterback making his first start behind a piss-poor offensive line with no inspiring receivers on the outside. That’s a recipe for disaster if the Falcons execute properly.

In my opinion, there are only three paths for the Panthers to victory:

  1. In his first career start, Bryce Young looks like Patrick Mahomes
  2. Desmond Ridder doesn’t look like an NFL quarterback
  3. Poor coaching and execution by the Falcons staff

Those things can certainly happen, but if it’s one of the latter two, all of a sudden the seat under Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot will start to simmer.

The time for excuses is over for the Falcons. This is a playoff caliber roster playing at home against a new regime and a rookie quarterback. There is pressure on the Falcons entering Week 1. How they respond to that pressure will ultimately determine their fate.

Photographer: John Byrum/Icon Sportswire

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