NFC South: Panthers again hand the reins to quarterback Sam Darnold

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

FLOWERY BRANCH -- The Panthers (3-8) are handing the reins back to quarterback Sam Darnold when they face the Broncos (3-7) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

P.J. Walker is injured, and Baker Mayfield appears to have worn out his welcome in the Queen City much as he did in Cleveland.

Darnold spent the first 10 weeks of the season on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain. He was active in Week 11 for the first time this season.

Walker, a former XFL star, started five games and went 2-3, including a 25-15 win over the Falcons on Nov. 10. Mayfield started six games and was 1-5.

Darnold, who was selected third overall in the 2018 NFL draft, two picks behind Mayfield, was acquired in a trade with the Jets in 2021.

He was 4-7 as a starter last season.

The first-place Bucs (5-5) play at the Browns (3-7) at 1 p.m. Sunday. The Bucs’ run defense, which held Seattle to 39 yards rushing in its most-recent outing, will be tested again by the NFL’s fifth-best rushing offense (150.9 yards per game).

The Saints (4-7) play at San Francisco (6-4) at 4:25 p.m. Sunday.

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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 Falcons 37, Panthers 34 OT

Nov. 6 Chargers 20, Falcons 17

Nov. 10 Panthers 25, Falcons 15

Nov. 20 Falcons 27, Bears 24

Nov. 27 at Washington, 1 p.m.

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

BYE WEEK

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