4 key Panthers matchups to watch vs. the Broncos in Week 14

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns /
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(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

Brian Burns vs. Drew Lock

Brian Burns is one of the hottest defensive ends in the NFL. The Carolina Panthers might have struggled to generate consistent pressure in opposing backfields during the season so far. But it’s clear they have a star on their hands in the 2019 first-round pick.

The Florida State product’s primary objective in Week 14 will be to make things as difficult as possible for quarterback Drew Lock, who hasn’t been able to match what many thought he was capable of prior to the campaign.

Lock is working behind a strong offensive line, which makes his lack of notable production even more bemusing. Garrett Bolles is a stud at left tackle and Demar Dotson has yet to give up a sack from 451 snaps on the other side.

Burns is sure to relish the challenge of pitting his exceptional skills against arguably the most consistent tackle tandem in the league. There are few linemen that can cope with the edge rusher when he is firing on all cylinders and providing the Panthers get help from elsewhere, it should come with success.

That might be more difficult than initially thought.

Derrick Brown, Zach Kerr, and Yetur Gross-Matos all remain on the reserve/COVID-19 list and if the Panthers were without all three, it would hamper their chances in no uncertain terms.