It's back! After a long-awaited time, the NFL season is here and the Falcons get started against a division foe. You include Frank Reich's first game, Bryce Young's first game, and Ryan Nielsen's first as defensive coordinator, and you can see this matchup being an extremely competitive one from the first snap.
The matchups last year included the OT classic from Week 8, and the forgetful Thursday Night game in the rain that included a rather rare throw attempt. Looking back at these games, although there will be completely different schemes on both sides of the ball for Carolina, there were some constants that need to be addressed to help us win Week 1.
The first is pass defense. Luckily DJ Moore is out of the division, and we are at 'hopefully' full strength at corner this time around. The second would be run defense, while it was decent outside of the red zone, as soon as the Panther got into the 20, both games turned into the D'onta Foreman show.
Lastly would be some consistency and the adjustment to the adjustments. Atlanta started off well in the pass game both outings, only for it to slow up later into the game. Combine that with some up and downs from Mariota and we have the matchups we had.
These differences will be what make up a good bit of who will need to step up to help Atlanta win Week 1 versus the Panthers