3 key matchups: Panthers at Falcons

FLOWERY BRANCH -- Here are three key matchups to watch when the Panthers (2-5) play the Falcons (3-4) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:

Panthers DT Derrick Brown vs. Falcons LG Elijah Wilkinson: Brown, a former AJC Super 11 player from Lanier High, was the seventh pick in the 2020 draft. He has 28 tackles, six pass breakups, a tackle for loss and four quarterback hits. Wilkinson has played 362 snaps, with three penalties and two sacks allowed.

Panthers LB Shaq Thompson vs. Falcons QB Marcus Mariota: Thompson will be key to defending the Falcons’ run-pass options and likely will spy Mariota at times to try to limit his big runs. Thompson has 46 tackles and three passes defensed. Mariota has rushed 49 times for 237 yards (4.8 per carry) and three touchdowns.

Panthers S Myles Hartsfield vs. Falcons TE Kyle Pitts: With Jeremy Chinn on injured reserve, Hartsfield is seeing more action. He had seven tackles in the upset of Tampa Bay. Pitts had a season-low 9 yards receiving Sunday against the Bengals.

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Atlanta Falcons 2022 schedule

Sept. 11: Saints 27, Falcons 26

Sept. 18: Rams 31, Falcons 27

Sept. 25 Falcons 27, Seahawks 23

Oct. 2 Falcons 23, Browns 20

Oct. 9 Buccaneers 21, Falcons 15

Oct. 16 Falcons 28, 49ers 14

Oct. 23 Bengals 35, Falcons 17

Oct. 30 vs. Carolina, 1 p.m.

Nov. 6 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1 p.m.

Nov. 10 at Carolina, 8:15 p.m.

Nov. 20 vs. Chicago, 1 p.m.

Nov. 27 at Washington, 1 p.m.

Dec. 4 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.


Dec. 18 at New Orleans, TBD

Dec. 24 at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

Jan. 1 vs. Arizona, 1 p.m.

Jan. 8 vs. Tampa Bay, TBD