4 bold predictions for the Carolina Panthers at Falcons in Week 1

Time to go bold.

Justin Houston
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Carolina Panthers defense holds Desmond Ridder to less than 150 passing yards

The NFL is a pass-happy league where the rulebook caters to offensive players. High-scoring games attract fans, and we have grown accustomed to seeing contests where both teams score more than 20 points.

Desmond Ridder - the former Cincinnati college quarterback - is entering his second season with the Atlanta Falcons and his first as the starter. But the wide receiving corps is not going to scare many and the offensive line is average.

Ridder’s top two skill position players are tight end Kyle Pitts and rookie running back Bijan Robinson, the No. 8 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft out of Texas. The Carolina Panthers defense is hurting with outside linebacker Marquis Haynes Sr. landing on injured/reserve and Brian Burns stuck in a contact situation with the front office.

I believe Burns will be on the field despite his obvious unhappiness. But the unit has yet to play much together during the preseason.

Nevertheless, head coach Frank Reich brought in defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero from the Denver Broncos at great expense to team owner David Tepper and the Panthers will be implementing a 3-4 base defense with a lot of creativity attached. Maximizing the skillset on the roster, the defense will be able to pressure Ridder often, leading to short throws and plenty of handoffs to Robinson as he becomes to focal point of the offense.