3 crucial matchups that could decide Carolina Panthers at Falcons in Week 1

Frankie Luvu
Frankie Luvu / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers QB Bryce Young vs. Falcons defense

The elephant in the room still begs conversation as the one thing on every Carolina Panthers fan's mind. How will quarterback Bryce Young hold up throughout his rookie campaign?

Young has proven that size isn't the factor that it once was when it comes to being an effective quarterback in the NFL during the preseason. But it remains to be seen if that will translate once things are going full speed and the games actually matter.

This matchup is two-fold in its importance.

On one hand, you have Young's ability to read an NFL-caliber defense with all the disguises and trickery they employ. The second most important job of any signal-caller is being able to recognize what the defense is planning before the snap and adjust accordingly.

Look at how often the best quarterbacks in the NFL audible for proof of just how important this aspect is.

The other hand is what happens after the snap. Going through progressions, finding the open man and making the throw, feeling the pressure before it hits home, and knowing when to run. A vast majority of inexperienced quarterbacks rely on their legs to carry them through - this is all well and good until an injury takes hold.

The talent is there for all to see, the football acumen as well. We just need to watch very closely how Young reacts when the whistle blows on his first real game action. Especially with the Atlanta Falcons looking to lean on their defense more often than not.

Plenty of rookie quarterbacks have crumbled under the pressure of an NFL season. Young has all the goods, but you never truly know until that first competitive snap.