4 key Panthers matchups to watch at the Saints in Week 7

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Jeremy Chinn
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Jeremy Chinn /
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Carolina Panthers
(Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

Brian Burns vs. Ryan Ramczyk

The Carolina Panthers’ pass-rush appears entirely dependent on Brian Burns at this point. They aren’t getting much from free-agent signing Stephen Weatherly on the other side of the defensive line, Kawann Short and Yetur Gross-Matos are injured, with those occupying positions on the interior also unable to register much in the way of consistency getting into the backfield.

This is a challenge that Burns appears more than ready for. The second-year-pro has been at the top of his game this season and although he might not be stuffing up the stat sheet, this shouldn’t detract from the eye-catching contribution he’s made so far.

Sunday’s game at the Saints represents another stern test for Burns in the form of right tackle Ryan Ramczyk, who is undeniably one of the best in the business and has been for some time. The lineman has given up one sack and one penalty from 311 snaps during the campaign so far, which has resulted in an impressive 77.2 grade from Pro Football Focus.

Burns has the tools needed to cause Ramczyk some problems. But it is vital the former Florida State standout makes the most of his opportunities when they come.

Another complication Burns might have is Drew Brees’ tendency to get the ball out quickly. This will give the edge rusher minimal time to get off the block and to the legendary signal-caller.