3 key matchups: Panthers at Falcons

Here are three matchups to watch when the Falcons (0-4) host the Panthers (2-2) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:

Panthers WR Robby Anderson vs. Falcons CB Kendall Sheffield: Anderson, a former New York Jet, was signed as a free agent this offseason. He’s caught 28 of 34 targets for 377 yards and a touchdown. Sheffield matched up with Green Bay’s top receiver Monday night and played strong in his 2020 debut. He suffered a foot injury during training camp. “He runs the full route-tree and he catches the ball,” Panthers coach Matt Rhule said of Anderson. “He also caught a lot of balls underneath and then (made some) runs after the catch for us. I think he’s playing really well. We have to continue to find ways to get him the ball all over the field to take advantage of his run-after-the-catch potential.”

Panthers DE Brian Burns vs. Falcons RT Kaleb McGary: Burns has registered only one sack, but it was a sack-strip in the first quarter against San Diego on Sept. 27 to help jump-start the team in a 21-16 victory, the Panthers’ first after two losses. He has 13 tackles and three tackles for a loss. McGary returned after missing one game because of a knee strain. Last season, he struggled with speed rushers. He is doing much better in 2020.

Panthers CB Donte Jackson v. Falcons WR Calvin Ridley: The Panthers were hoping to get cornerback Eli Apple back last week, but he has not recovered from an hamstring injury. Jackson missed some time in the Arizona game Sunday with a foot/toe injury, but was able to finish the game. Ridley was held without any catches on five targets Monday after three consecutive 100-yard games to open the season. Ridley has 20 catches for 373 yards (93.3 per game), four touchdowns. He has 10 receiving touchdowns in 11 career games vs. NFC South teams.

Falcons' next four games

Panthers at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11

Falcons at Vikings at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18

Lions at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday Oct. 25

Falcons at Panthers at 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29

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