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

Time to go bold.
Justin Houston
Justin Houston / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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Carolina Panthers OLBs Brian Burns and Justin Houston combine for 3 sacks 

Brian Burns is the undisputed leader of the Carolina Panthers defense alongside team mainstay Shaq Thompson. His Spiderman persona is backed by his play on the field, which has improved with every passing year and come with two straight Pro Bowl selections along the way.

Yet, he did not have a counterpart last season to take some pressure off him. Enter Justin Houston, the former Baltimore Raven who the Panthers picked up with just a few short days remaining of training camp.

While Houston is nearing the end of his career, there is plenty left in the tank to be a formidable duo with Burns. This has the potential to cause absolute havoc on opposing offensive lines.

Houston may not be a full-time player taking every defensive snap. But he could easily become a deadly situational player on passing downs with a history of creating pressure on quarterbacks throughout his glittering career.

In the dynamic duo's first contest together, they will cause chaos on the Atlanta Falcons offensive line getting into the backfield with ease. However, doubts remain about whether Burns will turn out for the contest with the Panthers remaining reluctant to shell out big bucks and keep him around long term.

This has been a significant distraction all week. And unless something drastic occurs in the coming days, it'll continue into Week 2 regardless of whether Burns plays at the Falcons or not.