5 things to know before Falcons at Panthers’ kick off



Here are five things to know before today’s Falcons (2-7) face the Carolina Panthers (5-4) at 1 p.m. at Bank of America Stadium:

1. Injury report: Falcons tight end Austin Hooper, the team's leading receiver with 56 catches, and running back Devonta Freeman, the team's leading rusher with 371 yards, were ruled out on Friday.

Also, strong safety Kemal Ishmael (concussion) will not play.

Hooper suffered an MCL strain and could miss up to four games, according to NFL Media. Running back Devonta Freeman suffered a foot sprain.

Hooper will be replaced in the lineup by Luke Stocker and Jaeden Graham.

Freeman will be replaced in the lineup by Brian Hill and rookie Qadree Ollison, who does not have an NFL carry.

Ishmael will be replaced in the lineup by Jamal Carter.

2. Trufant is back: Cornerback Desmond Trufant, who missed the past four games with a turf-toe injury, is set to return against the Panthers.

“It’s been a long process,” Trufant said Friday. “I’ve been working on it consistently, but now I’m at a point where I feel good. I feel like myself. I’m ready to go get it.”

Trufant, the team’s top cornerback, has five tackles, four pass breakups and two interceptions.

3. Where to watch, listen, stream: Here's your broadcast information for Falcons at Panthers. Jennifer Hale, a classmate of former Falcons center Todd McClure, will be the sideline reporter.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

4. Kaepernick Fest: Three buses carrying most of the Falcons left Flowery Branch at 1:30. A lot of players drive directly to the charter. But the team personnel  that stayed back to help facilitate the Colin Kaepernick workout had to drive to Charlotte. Most arrived late last night.

5. Three key matchups: Here's a look at the three key matchups. Watching Falcons middle linebacker Deion Jones chase around Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey should be worth the price of admission.


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