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Know Your Foe: Atlanta Falcons

Bijan Robinson

CHARLOTTE – The Panthers get the 2023 rolling on the road this year, starting Week 1 with a divisional matchup against the Falcons.

Atlanta will host Carolina at Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 1 p.m. this Sunday to kick off the season.

The Panthers are 21-35 all-time against the Falcons, with an 8-21 clip on the road. They're 0-4 in overtime against Atlanta, with the last matchup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium ending in an overtime loss last October. Carolina won its last meeting against the Falcons at home on Thursday Night Football in November.

Here's what to know about the Falcons:


Atlanta's offense already highlighted its rushing attack last year. But the Falcons continued to commit to the run with their first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, selecting former Texas running back Bijan Robinson at eighth overall.

Robinson comes to the league with great expectations after a strong college campaign with the Longhorns, and he flashed in his preseason debut against the Bengals last month. Robinson evaded tacklers on his first touch – a 12-yard carry – and put up 20 yards on four attempts in one drive, adding a 6-yard reception on the series, too.

He'll join second-year running back Tyler Allgeier, who finished his rookie year with 1,035 yards on 210 carries, averaging 4.9 yards per attempt with three touchdowns. They also return veteran Cordarrelle Patterson, who put up 695 rushing yards in his 10th NFL season last year.

Patterson missed Monday's practice while he recovers from a soft tissue injury sustained in August, so his status for Week 1 is uncertain.


The Falcons will roll with quarterback Desmond Ridder at the helm of the offense, earning the first season-opening start of his career.

Ridder started in the Falcons' final four games last season, completing 63.5 percent (73-of-115) of his passes for 708 yards and two touchdowns in that span.

Wide receiver Drake London highlights Ridder's arsenal of pass-catchers, as the second-year wideout put up 866 yards on 72 receptions in his rookie year despite the Falcons' rush-heavy tendency. The Falcons acquired receiver Mack Hollins after a career-best season at the Raiders. With Las Vegas, Hollins put up 690 receiving yards on 57 catches in 2022, high marks for the six-year veteran, who played college football at North Carolina.

Ridder will also have a healthy Kyle Pitts, as the tight end was limited to 10 games last season and put up just 356 receiving yards in his sophomore campaign marred by a knee injury.


Atlanta has a new defensive coordinator, bringing in Ryan Nielsen after his most recent stint as the co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at New Orleans.

The Falcons' defensive front has been bolstered in the offseason with new faces, including former Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata (5.0 sacks in 2022) and former Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell (5.5 sacks in 2022).

They return defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who put up 6.0 sacks along with 61 tackles and three forced fumbles last season.

The Falcons will also feature a pair of productive new linebackers, including former Saint Kaden Elliss (7.0 sacks, two forced fumbles in 2022) and former Titan Bud Dupree (4.0 sacks, two fumble recoveries in 2022).

Carolina is 21-35 all-time against Atlanta dating all the way back to 1995.

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