4 key matchups for the Panthers at the Falcons in Week 5

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns /
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Carolina Panthers
(Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

Brian Burns vs. Jake Matthews/Kaleb McGary

Brian Burns has been nothing short of outstanding for the Carolina Panthers this season. He has developed into a three-down defensive end who is now able to make more of an impression consistently and this is something that has been the springboard for a much-improved defense overall.

The former first-round pick looks to be another shrewd selection by the Panthers’ front office, who have struck big more often than not with their top-end picks in recent years. Burns is still just 22-years-old – which is easy to forget given his standing in the organization – and great things are sure to be in the player’s future if he continues to apply himself in this manner.

Sunday’s contest at the Falcons will be another big challenge for Burns. Jake Matthews has been a tremendous edge protector at the left tackle spot throughout his career and has more than lived up to the billing of a No. 6 overall pick in 2014.

Matthews earned a lofty 79.7 grade from Pro Football Focus in 2019 despite giving up eight sacks and seven penalties. He has following this up by not allowing one sack from 292 snaps this time around, which is a further indication of just how well Burns needs to perform in order to make a big impression on proceedings.