4 keys to victory for the Carolina Panthers at Falcons in Week 1

The long wait for Carolina Panthers football is nearly over.
Miles Sanders
Miles Sanders / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
4 of 5

Carolina Panthers must force 2 or more turnovers

Despite a lackluster offensive season in 2022, the Atlanta Falcons were not in the top half of the league in turnovers. In addition, the Carolina Panthers ranked in the bottom five in takeaways forced last year. If they can flip that script during the first game of 2023, they should return to Charlotte 1-0.

In four games of action last year, Desmond Ridder threw no interceptions, but he also threw for just 177 yards per game and 6.3 yards per attempt. In other words, they played it very conservatively with their then-rookie quarterback. That strategy may look different this season.

The Falcons' offensive weapons are not the kinds of guys that work primarily for short gains. They are the guys you take some really big shots with.

Whether it be Drake London, Kyle Pitts, or burners like Scotty Miller and Cordarrelle Patterson, I would be surprised if Atlanta did not take a few risks against the Panthers on Sunday.

If that were to happen, my money is on Donte Jackson, Jaycee Horn, Jeremy Chinn, and perhaps even Von Bell tracking the deep ball down for an interception. If Carolina can get one of those early and have the big men up front knock a fumble loose, they can put the offense in a good position to get some free points.

It is very hard to win in the NFL if you turn the ball over multiple times in one game. It may be especially hard for Atlanta to pull that off if the Panthers can make it happen and play ahead.