The Falcons could be down more than a handful of starters for their tilt with the Panthers this weekend.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Falcons could be missing as many as four starters along the line. Kaleb McGary has already been ruled out while Drew Dalman, Chris Lindstrom, and Jake Matthews have been given questionable designations.
Some are more important than others for the team. Storm Norton will start in place of McGary, and he’s been serviceable over the last couple of weeks. However, if Dalman or Lindstrom isn’t available, it could spell trouble for Ryan Neuzil and Kyle Hinton.
Derrick Brown is among the most menacing defenders in the league. He’s a load to handle for Lindstrom and Dalman, let alone a couple of backups. Tyler Vrabel would be called upon if Matthews isn’t able to go, and drawing Brian Burns isn’t exactly encouraging for the Falcons.
Obviously, we want those guys out there, but nobody’s presence would be missed more than David Onyemata’s. The interior defender’s absence was noticeable last week, and this Panthers team’s only hope of upsetting the Falcons is tied to its rushing attack’s success. Having Onyemata out there would be a tremendous boost in that department for Atlanta.
Bud Dupree and Nate Landman are important run defenders as well, though. Landman has been a total revelation this season and is a thumping linebacker when defending the run.
Hopefully, most, if not all of them can go on Sunday in what is virtually a must-win matchup. Based on how the guys listed were trending during the week, I would expect at least half of them will play.
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