Falcons vs. Panthers: Key matchups to watch

9532211061031 atl v lac

With the NFL season underway following Thursday Night Football’s contest between the Lions and Chiefs, it’s time to look toward the Falcons season opener as the club is set to host the Panthers.

These teams look much different than the last time they met. Carolina completely cleaned house, bringing in Frank Reich and Bryce Young. Atlanta turns to Desmond Ridder after a tumultuous 2022 campaign behind Marcus Mariota. Bijan Robinson is a highly touted rookie and will power Arthur Smith’s offense, but the major changes came on the defensive side of the ball.

On paper, the Falcons hold the advantage, so let’s check out some impactful matchups to watch for:

Falcons CB Tre Flowers vs. Panthers WRs

With Jeff Okudah out, the Falcons will turn to Tre Flowers to start opposite of A.J. Terrell with Dee Alford roaming the slot. Flowers is an experienced veteran who hasn’t exactly been a stellar cornerback since transitioning from safety. Thankfully, DJ Chark Jr. has already been ruled out and Adam Thielen could potentially miss Sunday’s contest. The Falcons corner should be able to hold his own against Jonathan Mingo and Terrace Marshall, but Flowers isĀ one to watch for sure.

Falcons LG Matthew Bergeron vs. Panthers DT Derrick Brown

If you watched last year’s matchups between these two teams, you surely noticed Derrick Brown in the middle of the Panthers’ defense. He wreaked havoc on Atlanta’s offensive line last year, and Matthew Bergeron is getting his first start against him. It could be a baptism by fire.

Falcons DT Grady Jarret and David Onyemata vs. Panthers OG Brady Christensen and Chandler Zavala

The Falcons revamped defensive line has a chance to make a statement in the opener, particularly along the interior. Zavala is a rookie and is in a similar position as Bergeron. Jarrett and Onyemata should have their way with Zavala. Even though Christensen is more experienced, his chances of holding up against either of the Falcons veterans isn’t much better. Bryce Young shouldn’t have many clean pockets on Sunday.

Falcons EDGE Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree vs. Panthers OT Ikem Ekwonu

The former first-round pick has struggled this offseason for the Panthers, and it could get worse on Sunday. Campbell might be 36 years old, but he’s a spring chicken. Reverting back to the position he played in with the Jaguars, expect a big impact from Campbell. Dupree is playing for another long-term contract, so he should be motivated. Taylor Moton, the Panthers’ right tackle, is among the best in the business, so if the Falcons are going to take advantage of one of these tackles, it’ll be Ekwonu.

Falcons WR Drake London vs. Panthers CB Jaycee Horn

This is going to be a battle. Both are extremely physical and are looking to establish themselves among the elites at their respective positions. The Panthers’ defense is a strength, so the Falcons’ offense might have some tough sledding in the early going. London pulling down a couple of 50/50 balls could be the difference.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: